November 2, 2018
AHRE is concerned about recent killings of peaceful demonstrators in Alamata town, Northern Ethiopia, in Afar Regional State and in Gambella Regional State in September and October 2018. These incidents, though spread out in time and location all indicate a growing restriction on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression.
Alamata and its Environs
During a public demonstration in Alamata town, Northern Ethiopia, Tigray Region on October 21, 2018, thousands were demanding the identity question of the Raya people to be recognized as Amhara, local security forces shot and killed 9 individuals. Among those killed were:
- Mr. Mohammed Wakeyo
- Mr. Molla Abraham
- Mr. Negasi Eyob
- Mr. Kassa Nigus and others.
According to local sources, in addition, at least 50 people were injured with gunshot and after beaten by security forces who intervened to disperse the protestors. Some of those injured fled because they feared being transported to Tigray Regional State.
Afar Regional State
Public demonstrations held in Semera town of the Afar Regional State, Northeastern of Ethiopia, on October 26, and October 27, 2018 were met with forceful dispersal by the regional police force, who beat, and injured many demonstrators. 50 were also arrested. They were protesting against the local administration and demanding democratic reform and respect for human rights.
Gambella Regional State
On September 24, 2018, at least 8 people were killed by security forces in Gambella town, Western Ethiopia during a peaceful demonstration. Several more were beaten and mass arrests were conducted. Gambella has seen several extrajudicial killings over the years.
These, and several other incidents in response to public demonstrations are alarming.
On October 28, people in several cities in Amhara Regional Administration such as Bahir Dar, Dessie, and Debre Berhan held public demonstrations that were conducted and ended peacefully.,
AHRE calls on the government of Ethiopia to reign in its security forces and demonstrate its respect for the rights of people to assemble peacefully and express their thoughts by holding those responsible for these violations accountable.