For immediate ReleaseFollowing the online call of #OromoProtests activists for massive rallies on August 6, 2016, throughout Oromia, the Oromo people have turned out in large numbers in every corner of Oromia to demand justice and freedom. Massive rallies were and are taking places in almost all zonal and district capital cities of the Oromia region, in Finfinne and Dire Dawa. People have protested in more than 200 cities across Oromia and challenged the grip of the unrelenting brutal ruling regime in power in Ethiopia. The scale and intensity of the protests make this a historic day in the struggle of Oromo people in particular and the Ethiopian people in general. We salute the peaceful protesters for organizing such disciplined protests and for their bravery, determination, and sacrifices. Although we hoped and urged the Ethiopian government to allow people to freely protest, reports coming from Oromia are depicting a gloomy picture. So far, the Ethiopian government security forces have killed many innocent civilians and have wounded many more. The numbers of those beaten and rounded up from protest grounds and taken to known and unknown detention locations are countless.
We condemn the barbarous actions of Ethiopian security forces in the strongest sense of the word. It must be clearly underlined that Ethiopian security personnel and officials in the chain of the command will be held accountable before the court of the law one day. Despite its hell-bent approach on violence, we still urge the Ethiopian government to seek a peaceful solution to the peaceful protests. The responsibility is on the government’s shoulders to address the issues raised by their citizens immediately and before the problem spirals out of control.
We encourage the international community not to sit silent in the face of egregious human rights violations the Ethiopian government is committing on the peaceful protesters with impunity. The protesters’ unified demonstration calling for freedom, peace, no violence and no guns has been met with arrests, terror, beatings, and murder by guns. The continuous disproportionate violence the Ethiopian government is willing to exact on its citizens cannot endlessly be accepted either by citizens or by the international community.
We encourage the Oromo people to continue protesting until their just, legal, and peaceful demands are met. Despite the Ethiopian government tactic of divide and rule for over last 25 years, protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions expressed solidarity for one another. Now is the time for Ethiopian people to stand together against the savagery and human rights violations by the Ethiopian regime.
Freedom and Justice for all!
Oromo Federalist Congress International Support Group
August 6, 2016