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Planned Ethiopian Orthodox demonstration called off

Planned Ethiopian Orthodox demonstration called off

Postponed to a later date in November

The nationwide demonstration called by several bodies under the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church last week, to protest attacks on various churches and religious establishments in recent months, has been postponed to later date in November on the condition that various government bodies did not live up to the promises they have made to ensure peace and security, a statement released today said.

According to the statement released by various heads of churches in Addis Ababa, representatives of Sunday schools, and various theological schools and association in the city, after a long and painstaking deliberation with heads of governments, heads of security establishments including police commissioners, both at the federal and regional administration levels, during the course of the past week, the Group has been convinced that there is adequate commitment from the government side to ensure peace and provide protection for the churches and faithful and hence it has decided to call off the demonstration which was originally scheduled for 15th of September, 2019.

The statements noted that starting from the negotiations that took place on Wednesday with representatives of the Addis Ababa administration and that of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), the Group met and held discussions with heads of the Addis Ababa, Oromia, Amhara and Southern regional administrations on Friday, regarding what they described as dire lack of security for churches and the faithful across the nation.

On the other hand, the Group also discussed with police commissioners from Addis Ababa, Oromia, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Dire Dawa and Southern regions, and they have reached understanding on the need to step up security and ensuring the rule of law in the various localities, the statement said.  Apart from that, the Group also indicated that it has standing program to meet leaders of Dire Dawa city administration, and those of Harari and Benishangul-Gumuz regional states in the coming days. 

And hence, the Group indicated that it has received adequate commitment from the various bodies regarding the improvement of the security situation across the nation. Furthermore, the statement said that although there is a tentative alternative date for planned demonstration in November, it will be dependent on the commitment of the various officials to deliver on the promised improvement in security situation regarding various religious establishments and the faithful.    

“Members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have been slaughtered as thousands of others were forcefully displaced. Rule of law has not been respected, and several churches have been intentionally demolished. The government has been neglectful while all these were happening,” Seifu Alemayehu, a member of the organizing committee had said, in press conference held earlier this week. While noting that the Group intends to hold talks with various bodies before announcing the decision to either continue or halt the planned nationwide demonstration.