In the capital of the Amhara regional province, Bahir Dar Addis Ababa, there is a large military and police presence, which prevents several people from gathering at what is now known as the Amhara Opposition National Movement (NAMA).
Despite the decision of the local authorities not to accept the demonstration, which was called to condemn the repeated deadly attacks on civilian members of the Amhara community in different parts of the country, warning of the consequences, several residents of Bahir Dar gathered this morning Two residents of the city, who spoke to Addis Standard on the phone, said two members of the armed forces and a large police presence in the regional police.
Miseganav, a resident of the city, who asked to be quoted only in his own name, said: “We are on a Papyrus tour at 6 in the morning. From 30. As the number of participants increased, we started chanting our slogans out loud. “As we made our way to St. George’s Lodge, we were greeted by a large police presence and dispersed.” According to him, the security forces, especially the members of the regional special police rebellion control detachment, used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Another eyewitness, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said security forces had arrested an unknown number of participants as they tried to transport the wounded to various health centers in the city. Addis Standard’s attempts to reach the city police were in vain.
Today’s rally was convened by NAMA and was scheduled to be held in all cities of Amhara with a follow-up rally on November 1 in Addis Ababa. However, this was not allowed by the regional government, whose communications bureau chief Gezachu Mullen said the rally had not been punished by the regional government. He warned that security forces, including the police, would take appropriate action against anyone who contradicted the statement.
Yesterday, police in Addis Ababa NaMA- surrounded by high-ranking officials who were discussing ways of holding the meeting and the announcement of regional government “not to allow our members to leave the area,” the party said in a statement. After that, NaMA said it would no longer take responsibility for a possible rally today, as its members were barred from coordinating the rally while traveling outside the capital.
Amnesty International condemned the regional government’s decision to ban the rally as “illegal and unnecessary”.
“People have the right to protest, to exercise their right to freedom of expression, to freedom of peaceful assembly. “They should not be killed, injured or arrested just for expressing their views, but instead they should be able to rely on the protection of the authorities in exercising their right to peaceful assembly,” said Deproz Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and South Africa.
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