Ethiopian activists end 3-day vigil & hunger strike in London

By Wondimu Mekonnen
EthioMedia
LONDON - The hunger strike and vigil of Ethiopians against the brutality perpetrated by the regime in Ethiopia, the continued detention of the CUDP, leaders, journalists, NGOs and members of the civic societies and against the silence of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Government, that started on 30 October 2006 at Downing Street came to an end on 01 November 2006, at 8:00 pm with prayers, supplications and vows to continue the struggle. Regardless of the harsh windy November weather, the hunger strikers held the three-day challenge to the last minute with defiance. It was as if God had co-operated with the cause of Ethiopia, because though it had been so cold and windy, there was no rain at all, unlike the previous years.
In the three days of protest, enough had been done by those determined to continuously to man the post. Leaflets had been distributed and briefings had been given out to the interested members of the public, journalists, human rights activists and tourists. An interesting moment have been when some members of CSKA Moscow football team approached the protestors and offered solidarity with Ethiopians. They were in London to play against the Premier Team, Arsenal FC next day. One of their top stars came and expressed his love for Ethiopia (may be due to the Russian famous poet of Ethiopian origin, Alexander Pushkin) and expressed his solidarity with the victims. As a token of his concern and appreciation for Ethiopia, he gave us the emblem of his club.
On the last day of the hunger strike and vigil, at about 5:00 pm, four delegates took a protest letter expressing why they were on the hunger strike for the last three days and holding vigil, addressed to Prime Minster Tony Blair. They handed the letter to his assistant at 10 Downing Street. In their protest letter to the Prime Minister, Ethiopians expressed their anger at the western democracies double standard. Thy expressed their frustration at Britain’s and the United States’ down-grading of the issue of democratisation and human rights in Ethiopia to a much lower level of priorities because of the so-called ‘developments in the Horn of Africa’. They reminded Prime Minister Blair that the regime in Ethiopia is running out of time and soon the British Government would be left to face the angry but the now ignored Ethiopians mass. The protestors stated that the state repression can go so far but this can not be sustained in any way. As they had done it in the past several occasions throughout their history, the Ethiopians would free themselves from tyranny one way or another. It is fact known to the whole world that the extreme limits of repression that had been exercised on the Ethiopian population by a regime that had lost a democratic election but is sustaining itself in power through repression on the population and shear deception and tacit support of western democracies for reasons that are alien to the Ethiopian population. Such indifference is unacceptable to Ethiopians. At least, Britain should stop sprinkling on EU efforts to help Ethiopians. Therefore, protestors asked the Government of Blair to stop resuscitating a dying brutal regime and called upon him and his government to side the Ethiopian people rather than the tyrant.

In a nutshell, the following were the slogans shouted at the Downing Street.
  • We commemorate those who died for Freedom in Ethiopia
  • We commemorate those who died for Democracy in Ethiopia
  • We commemorate those who died for justice in Ethiopia
  • We remember those suffering in the name of freedom
  • We stand with those suffering in the name of Justice and Democracy
  • We remember our martyrs
  • Your death will not be in vain
  • Your suffering will not be in vain

  • To all Ethiopian mothers mourning the death of their sons and daughters:-
  • Your tears will not be in vain
  • Your anguish will not be in vain
  • Justice will be done
  • Tony Blair, Great Britain, are you for freedom?
  • Tony Blair, Great Britain, are you for democracy?
  • Tony Blair, Great Britain, are you for Justice?
  • Tony Blair, Great Britain, are you with us or with the tyrant regime in Ethiopia?
    We hope you are with us for freedom and justice
    If so:

  • Stop the state terror in Ethiopia
  • Say no to state terror in Ethiopia
  • Do not support the tyrant regime in Ethiopia.
  • Remember! Remember!

  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere Tyranny anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
  • Say no to state terrorism in Ethiopia.
  • Tyrant states will not be a true ally aggainst terrorism
  • supporting tyrants is supporting terroriism
  • People are true allies of freedom not tyyrants
  • Democracy is the only defense against teerrorism
  • Democracy is the guarantee against extreemism
  • Support the struggle for freedom in Ethiopia.
  • Support the struggle for democracy in Ethiopia
  • End state terrorism in Ethiopia
  • Free all prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia.

  • At about 8:00 pm, the organisers of the hunger strike and vigil made short speeches vowing to continue the struggle to free the people from tyranny. They swore never to leave the streets of London or stop knocking at the doors of powers of the international community until the stolen ballots have been returned to the people and the wrongly accused, charged with treason and genocide and jailed leaders of CUDP, journalists and members of the civic organisations have been freed. Ato Abebe Tolessa one of the organisers informed the protestors about the immediate future plan of action and invited all to part in one or the other. Ato Hailemariam Legesse, another organiser also thanked those who starved themselves for three days by sleeping in cold and on dry uncomfortable concrete, symbolising the pain and suffering of the opposition leaders, to have a grasp of what the inmates of Kality had to put up with for the last one year. He thanked the protestors for defying the dark and cold days of windy November and nights to voice for the voiceless. Ato Hailemariam Legesse then called on Abba Girma, a Hermit that had never abandoned Ethiopians demonstrators for the last one year, continuously attending vigils and demonstrations and like all fatherly figures encouraging and blessing and praying for peace and love among the people of the country, to bless the crowed.
    Abba Girma took the microphone and told the hunger strikers and the protestors that only God can deliver Ethiopia from her tribulation. The super powers whose attention Ethiopians were trying to capture for the least one year were turning blind eyes to the atrocities committed, as if they never had ears to hear the cries of Ethiopians mothers and fathers, had no eyes to see the injustices perpetrated by those who had no fear of God. Therefore, he advised the protestors to turn to God and appeal to Him, as He only had impartial ears and eyes for the persecuted and the downtrodden. Therefore, he strongly advised Ethiopians to pray for deliberation of the people from tribulation. Abba Girma then blessed the crowed and in a very moving way prayed for peace and love and understanding among Ethiopians.
    With that the crowed peacefully left for home but still vowing never to give up the fights for peace, democracy and equality in Ethiopia. The hunger strike is over, but the struggle against tyranny in Ethiopia continues.
    The struggle of Ethiopians shall triumph!

    The writer, Wondimu Mekonnen, can be reached at mailto:wondimu.mekonnen@btinternet.com

    posted by Ethiounited Moderator at2:26 AM

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