The Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek) severely criticized the Addis Ababa City Administration and the ruling party over the repetitive cancellations of planned demonstrations and public meetings in Addis Ababa where that the party had planned to express its concern over the current issues across the country.
The party expressed its grievance over the narrowing political space in Ethiopia in a press conference held at the party’s headquarters around Sidist Kilo off Weatherall Street on Friday.
The party protested the illegal action taken by the ruling party and the government in contradiction to the constitution as well as the proclamation to establish the procedure for peaceful demonstration and public political meetings—proclamation number 3/1991—the statement read.
Based on the laws and procedures of the country, Medrek tried to notify the Addis Ababa City Administration that the party has planned to hold a peaceful mass demonstration on the burning current affairs, Beyene Petros, president of Medrek told journalists.
“Accordingly, the party notified the city administration first on the 27th of December and secondly on 18th of January. However, the city administration disallowed the planned demonstration,” Beyene said.
“The requests or notifications to hold peaceful demonstrations were all disallowed based on irrelevant petty excuses,” the president said. For example, for the demonstration that was planned on a Sunday, the city administration said no on basis of the presence of schools and government offices along the route of the demonstration although it was obvious that there was no formal business on a Sunday, Beyene added.
“Our second notification or request for demonstration was also denied on the pretext that it was so close to Epiphany holiday,” Beyene said.
He, however, stated that the demonstration was planned four days before epiphany and that there is no good faith and will from the side of the ruling party to respect the law and let his party demonstrate.
The party also came up with another option that is to organize a meeting at Meskel square but it was not allowed to do so, according to Beyene. “The response for this request was also quite harsh. The city administration summoned two representatives of our party and literally threatend them,” Beyene told reporters.
“Medrek is a peaceful organization, which wants to conduct its political activities peacefully and this would include holding meetings, demonstrations and mass rallies, if we are prevented from all this then what instrument is left for us to remain politically active and visible as a political organization,” Beyene said.