Saturday, July 02, 2005

Ethiopians in Seattle Say, "Meles is a Fascist! He's Got to Go!"

Ethiomedia.com -- SEATTLE, Washington State (July 1) – Several hundred Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans living in and around the Northwestern American City of Seattle on Friday called on President George Bush to live up to his promise of extending his support to people deprived of freedom and justice, and chanted: "Meles is a fascist; He's got to go!"

Waving the national color of their country of origin, the Ethiopians said the Ethiopian people had elected their leaders on May 15 but the “fascist” regime of Meles Zenawi had already declared a state of emergency to buy time to reverse the people’s verdict through violence.

Marching from Seattle Central Community College through Pike, 2nd and 3rd Avenues, major avenues frequented by tourists and visitors from around the world, the Ethiopians carried huge banners which called for the removal of Meles, whom the protesters accused of murdering unarmed demonstrators and university students, while locking up prominent opposition leaders and thousands of supporters.

Chanting, “Don’t let Ethiopia become a second Rwanda,” the activists warned how the ruling party was desperate to spark ethnic conflict in the country in a bid to divert the Ethiopian people’s attention away from their drive for justice and democracy to one of shielding themselves from the wrath of state-initiated civil war.

Thousands of passers-by who watched the Ethiopians calling for democracy and justice stood watching from the sidewalks, and some of them positioned their cameras for snap shots. The highly disciplined and friendly Seattle police officers were also clearing traffic and easing the flow of the marchers to the Federal Building, where a representative of Senator Maria Cantwell received a letter from the organizing committee of the protest rally in Seattle.

A Seattle-based Ethiopian TV network crew headed by Weyyin Negus was on hand covering the July 1 Ethiopian Protest Rally in Seattle, which is part of a worldwide protest against the Meles regime, which has now been condemned by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others, for the murder of at least 40 demonstrators and wounding over 100 on June 8. Other press freedom groups like the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), International Press Institute (IPI) and International Freedom of Information Exchange (IFEX) have repeatedly criticized the ruling party for its attack on members of the Ethiopian Free Journalists Association (EFJA) as well as the covert and overt human rights violations in the country.

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