June 10, 2009

Oromo: Protesting Students Imprisoned

Active ImageArsi Oromo students in Ethiopia have been imprisoned for publicly protesting against a Government holiday. The students protested peacefully by wearing black clothes of mourning and walking barefoot around the campus.
 
 
Below is an article published by Jimma Times:


Mostly Oromo and other Ethiopian students protesting against a government holiday reportedly have remained in prison for days. According to JT sources, the Oromo students in several schools in Arsi province of Ethiopia's Oromia state were detained for demonstrating against the Ginbot 20 holiday, saying the holiday is only for the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) of the EPRDF coalition ruling party and it does not concern Oromo people. The word "Ginbot" translates to the month of "May" in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.

The center of the protest was in Ardaita Agricultural, Technical and Vocational training Education College (ATVET) of Oromia where the students protested by wearing black clothes of mourning and walking barefoot around the campus to show their opposition to the Meles government that replaced the Mengistu government on the date of May (Ginbot) 20 EC, 1991. At least a dozen of the students are said to be taken to the local police station since then.

The demonstration was carried out peacefully. But regional authorities often fear that politically active Oromo students would be influenced by groups like Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Peoples Congress (OPC), which have been opposing the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) group of the ruling party.
This year has witnessed a big rise in the number of peaceful demonstrations held inside or near college campuses around the country, with most demonstrating in favor of diverse reasons, ranging from religious, human rights and educational to political causes.