By STAFF WRITER APRIL 22, 2015
In the wake of the gruesome killings of several Ethiopian Christians by Islamic extremists in Libya, hundreds of Addis Ababans took to the streets on Tuesday protesting both the atrocities and the government’s sluggish response.
The uncoordinated demonstrations saw city residents shrieking as they marched at different parts of the city demanding retribution for the deaths of innocent Ethiopians. Protestors also criticized the government for lagging in its response to the killings — which declared a three-day mourning only as of Tuesday.
Among the few identified victims, shot or beheaded by the ISIL-affiliated militants, were Eyasu Yikunoamlak and Balcha Belete, both migrants from Addis Ababa. It is believed they have been caught by the militants in Libya en route to Europe. Also, a photo of Daniel Hadush, a Jimma University graduate from Tigray region, was circulating on the Internet as one of the recently identified victims.
Protestors carried photographs of the victims, as well a banner in Amharic that — when loosely translated in English — read, “Sovereignty is having the rights of citizens respected everywhere!”.
“When are we going to rise up? Isn’t it our blood that was shed?”, the crowd lamented before the city police slowly dispersed the demonstrators, and the government shortly announcing organized protests will be held in the following days.
The latest ISIL atrocity came at a time when 700 are feared dead in a shipwreck off Libya, some of whom confirmed to be Ethiopians. It is also just a few days ago Ethiopians were caught off guard with the xenophobic attacks in South Africa that left at least two Ethiopians dead and dozens more injured.
The government-supported protest that was held on Wednesday morning at Meskel Square, Addis Ababa, to denounce the ISIL slaughter in Libya as well as the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa, also met with enraged protestors.
According to the government’s press release, Wednesday’s protest was intended to send a clear message to terrorists and alike that the government will further strengthen its ongoing counter-terrorism operations. But latest reports from Addis Ababa indicated, the demonstration ended with beatings, tear-gases and the deployment of the Agazi special forces.