Ethiopia police block rally, beat activists
September 1, 2013
Yilkal Getnet, who heads the opposition Blue party, said Sunday that police raided their headquarters in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Saturday night and beat up some party members. He said police also seized banners and equipment that would have been used during a street protest on Sunday.
He said the rally was meant to highlight the continued detention of some journalists and Muslim activists.
Ethiopia has charged at least 28 Muslims activists with terrorism. But those activists say they have been unfairly targeted by the government, which they accuse of harassment.
A spokesman for Ethiopian police was not immediately available for comment.
Heavily-armed police cordoned off Semayawi Party HQ on the eve of the planned protest rally. The area was thrown into darkness after power was cut off. Police stormed and ransacked offices. Activists and supporters were beaten. Semayawi Party leaders were also arrested, including Blue Party leader Yilkal Getnet, who was released after two hours of detention. To cap government lawlessness, a pro-government rally was planned on the same day and at the same place in a clear move to override the planned protest rally.
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