World, Africa

Ethiopian Americans protest US pressure

US decision to impose visa restrictions on Ethiopian officials sent shock waves across the Ethiopian community all over world

Addis Getachew   | 01.06.2021
Ethiopian Americans protest US pressure US citizens of Ethiopian descent gather for a demonstration to protest on the grounds that the US President Joe Biden's administration unfairly pressured Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 01, 2021. ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Americans on Tuesday staged a protest at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, saying Joe Biden administration was putting pressure on Ethiopia unfairly.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mesfin Hailu, a middle-aged resident of California in the US, said, “The Ethiopian government has the right to protect the sovereignty of the country, the right to defend the rule of law.”

“We want the US government to support the Ethiopian democratic transition,” he said, making an allusion to the Martial Plan that the US government implemented in Europe following WWII.

Ethiopia-US relations have been fast deteriorating after the Joe Biden administration imposed the restrictions that trailed a thrashed list of US demands over the situation in Ethiopia’s northernmost region of Tigray.

On Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government launched a massive “law enforcement operation” in Tigray after the hitherto all-too-powerful Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), now designated a terrorist launched a gruesome attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Forces across the region, including in the regional capital Mekele, killing and maiming soldiers while asleep and completely unawares and looting sizable military hardware.

The Biden administration last week called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to stop what it claimed were human rights violations being committed in Tigray and to ensure the withdrawal of Eritrean forces.

Genet Kifetew, a longtime resident of the US now in Ethiopia to support the ongoing reform program of Abiy’s government, told Anadolu Agency that the Biden administration was interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopia to “pull us back to poverty.”

“We are not going to let them do that,” she said, adding Ethiopia was on the path to change aimed at lifting the citizenry out of poverty.

In the letter of protest they submitted to the Embassy officials, the demonstrators said, “The people of Ethiopia waged a struggle for justice, liberty and democracy for over 27 years and ousted the repressive TPLF dominated EPRDF (Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front) government in 2018, and as a result, a reformist group emerged within the [then] ruling EPRDF coalition.”

“TPLF leaders opted to use everything in their power to try to reverse the reform measures and assume power by any means to revive their ethnic minority hegemony and take Ethiopia back to that dark era,” they said in the letter.

The region of Tigray came under intense international spotlight seven months ago following the conflict that claimed the lives of many and displaced people in their hundreds of thousands. More than 60,000 are reported to have fled the fighting to neighboring Sudan.

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