Ethiopia: Residents of Ambo, Woliso strike demanding release of political prisoners

ESAT News (August 7, 2017)

Residents of Ambo and Woliso, West and South West of the capital Addis Ababa respectively, strike on Monday to demand the release of political prisoners including Dr. Merera Gudina, Bekele Gerba and other leaders and members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC).

The strikes in the two towns began in opposition to the new tax hikes imposed recently by authorities but have grown into a demand for the release of political prisoners. Residents contacted by ESAT say they are enraged about the handling of Merera Gudina, who was seen handcuffed at last week’s court appearance. They demanded his unconditional release.

Shops, restaurants and other businesses were shut down today in Ambo while transportation services were completely disrupted. Similar strikes were also reported in Woliso, where preparations were underway to stage a rally in protest against the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina and other political prisoners.

Dr. Gudina has been in jail for 9 months after he was arrested in December 2016 upon his return from Europe where he testified at the European Parliament against human rights abuses by the Ethiopian regime.