Wednesday, November 02, 2005

US Calls for Restraint After Ethiopian Violence

People's Daily -- The United States on Wednesday deplored the violence in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and called on all parties to show restraint.

"We call on all parties to immediately show restraint to step back from the current environment of heightened political tension and call on the Ethiopian government to establish an independent commission to investigate today's public demonstrations and those of June 8th," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack in a statement.

He also said that Washington "deplores the use of violence and deliberate attempts to provoke violence in a misguided attempt to resolve political differences."

At least 11 civilians were killed on Wednesday when Ethiopia's riot police opened fire at stone-throwing protesters, who are members and supporters from the largest opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), witnesses said.

Wednesday's clashes came one day after six protesters and two policemen were killed in violence between riot police and protesters. The protesters took to the street over the contested results of the May 15 parliamentary election.

The bodies of two young men in the Black Lion Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killed during clashes between youths and police. aheavens' photostream

Five Killed During Foiled Attempt to Capture CUD Leader Birtukan Mideksa

EthioMedia – Security forces killed at least five civilians and wounded scores of others on Wednesday during a foiled attempt to arrest Birtukan Mideksa, the young and charismatic

The clashes involved thousands of city residents who were chanting, "Birtukan Is Our Ethiopian Heroine!"

Eye witnesses described the clash in an Addis Ababan neighboorhood called Ferensai Legacion as “fierce and lasting several hours."

“Birtukan is our leader and we cannot allow thugs to touch her, leave alone to arrest her,” were among the slogans being chanted by angry residents of Addis Ababa, an opposition stronghold of 4 million now in its second day of clashing with police and security forces loyal to ruthless tyrant Meles Zenawi.

The security forces could not find Birtukan, whose whereabouts are a mystery.

Young, educated and charismatic, Birtukan came to national attention in 2002 when as a Supreme Court judge made headlines over a crucial court case involving the prime minister as a plaintiff and his political opponent, former Defense Minister Siye Abraha, as a defendant.

Judge Birtukan set Siye free, ruling there was no evidence to keep the defendant in jail over alleged corruption charges. A dismayed Meles dispatched his security men to the court, reversed the ruling, and sent the former TPLF official back to prison. Siye had accused Meles of “treason” as an Eritrean agent who foiled Ethiopia’s counter-offensive against Eritrean invasion in the previous war, but the minister serves time to this day in an Addis Ababa prison.

Defiant Birtukan abandoned the judiciary once she knew Meles was above the law, and the judiciary his own stick.

Birtukan's ascent to the leadership of Ethiopia’s most popular, multi-ethnic opposition party signifies a young, professional, democratic-minded generation has come of age in Ethiopia.

Security Forces Murder Elected Councilman’s Wife

On the second day of protests which have so far claimed the lives of 41 people, security forces killed the wife of Addis Ababa Councilman Teshome Legesse while sobbing when her husband was being taken away to prison.

According to the online Ethiopian Review, the wife of the councilman was murdered with two gunshots – execution style. ER also reported youths were being dragged out of their homes, and executed in the streets. On the same day, an army truck near the Ground Forces Camp in Addis burst into flames from a mysterious explosion. No casualties were reported, although the army truck was ferrying troops. (EthioMedia)

Making a Political Movie

ADDIS ABABA - This morning at Kazanchis, a cameraman was recording the whole area from his Landcruiser. While he was recording, two youngsters approached a policeman, who snatched his AK-47 rifle, and ran away. We realised it was a government drama to accuse the opposition of attacking a policeman. In the past, we have seen similar dramas on the Ethiopian Television. (An observer from Addis Ababa)

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