Protest in City Heights of Controversial Ethiopian Consulate Meeting
By Anna Daniels
in Activism, Culture, Politics
May 1, 2013

Editor's Note -- As usual, government hirelings used foul language to discredit an otherwise excellent report by Anna Daniels. They tried to confuse the reporter by telling her how 'ignorant' she was about the political reality in Ethiopia, etc. Even the US State Dept's report on human rights violations that Anna quoated couldn't stop the cyber zombies from doing the dirty job for the dictatorial regime. A few pro-democracy activists tried to back up Anna with her report but they were outnumbered online. In reality, the propagandists are few in number as compared to the presence of opposition supporters in the Diaspora, and that strength should reflect at the cyber war as well.

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Lines of taxicabs were parked along Fairmount Avenue in City Heights yesterday afternoon–Sunday April 28. Police cars were parked in front of the Golden Hall East African Community and Cultural Center where approximately sixty people were holding a protest that spilled into the adjacent parking lot. Signs with “Stop Human Rights Abuses” were visible among the group waving Ethiopian and American flags.

According to protesters, the Ethiopian Consulate from Los Angeles was barricaded inside the cultural center with an undetermined number of members of the San Diego and Los Angeles Ethiopian Community. The Consulate was attending a widely publicized meeting to promote the purchase of bonds to build a controversial dam in Ethiopia that threatens the livelihood of thousands of indigenous peoples.

Protesters maintained that flyers advertising the meeting had been Ethiopian_invitation_2013-04-28_2left in City Heights Ethiopian markets and restaurants. One woman told me that when the protesting group entered the cultural center they were met with invectives, hostility and intimidation before being dispersed from the meeting which had been publicized as open to the public.

Protesters were anxious to describe the current conditions in Ethiopia under a government led by the minority Tigray tribe. Someone handed me the 2012 US State Department Human Rights Watch which detailed the Ethiopian government suppression of journalists and bloggers and the alarming incidences of imprisonment and torture. There is no independent press in Ethiopia and dissenting political views are often treated as “terrorism.”

The enormous dam under construction in Ethiopia, undertaken by the current government/Tigray minority, has become a flash point for inter-tribal tensions. The protesters represented non-Tigray ethnic and tribal groups who described being left out of the dam planning process, despite the profound impacts it would have upon their villages.

Because the funding for the dam has not been fully secured, the government has demanded that the populace pay directly for the needed bonds. Protesters described the pressure brought to bear on businesses and individuals to make “donations” for the bonds. Protesters that I spoke with emphasized that dissenters are imprisoned under horrendous conditions. “We have freedom here in this country, but our families have no such freedom,” was repeated by men and women holding both the American and Ethiopian flags.

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