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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Civil Servants "Cajoled" to Attend EPRDF's Last Election Campaign

Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have rallied in the past two days in various towns across the Horn of Africa country in support of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) ahead of May 15 general elections.

More than 22,000 residents from 17 kebeles in Ambalage woreda in Tigray State expressed support to the EPRDF on Sunday, saying " no party is more democratic than the EPRDF."

Similarly, more than 5,000 residents of Gulo Mekheda woreda -- or district -- in Tigray State rallied on Monday in favor of the EPRDF.

More than 10,000 residents in Dembecha woreda in Amhara State also held a demonstration on Monday, supporting the ruling Amhara Nationals Democratic Movement (ANDM).

People's Daily

Photo
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Boris Heger)

Supporters of Ethiopia's ruling party the People's Revolutionary Democratic Front hold candle's as they hold a rally,Thursday, May 12, 2005 in the capital, Addis Ababa to express their support for fair and peaceful elections .The May 15 elections are considered an important test of the ruling party's willingness to bring democracy to Ethiopia, which has invited international observers into the Horn of Africa country for the first time

According to Ethiopian Reporter some government employees were told to report at their office first thing in the morning (for last Saturday's rally) and sign in like other working days before going to the rally. Some government employees, who sought unanimity, told The Reporter that they had been ordered by their respective agency bosses to sign in at their offices before attending the event.

Some observers said the order violated the constitutional rights of civil servants who may not be supporters of EPRDF adding that the front was using its government power to swarm Meskal Square with a huge mass rally to make it look like it had won a majority support. They questioned the appropriateness of using the civil service punch to ensure attendance at a completely different event.

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