By David Weber
Hundreds of members of Ethiopia’s ethnic communities have marched in Perth to raise awareness of a government crackdown leading to the detention of thousands of people.
Authorities in Ethiopia have detained more than 2,000 people in recent weeks, amid large anti-government protests.
President of the Oromo Community in Perth Nuru Said has called on the Australian Government to put pressure on its Ethiopian counterpart.
“What we say is the Australian Government [should] not support this terrorist government who is killing [its] citizens and also to put pressure to abide human rights in Ethiopia,” he said.
“Australia is one of the leading democratic countries with respect for human rights.
“And this Government is violating the basic human rights and the constitutional rights of the people.
“So I think the Australian Government can play a major role on this.”
State of emergency
Human rights groups say hundreds of people have died over the past year as a result of clashes with authorities.
A state of emergency was declared a week after more than 50 people died on October 2, when an Oromo religious festival in the town of Bishoftu turned into a protest and a stampede ensued.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister said the state of emergency was declared due to the “enormous” damage to property.
An Ethiopian Government statement last week said more than 1,600 people had been detained in the Oromia and Amhara regions, on top of 1,000 arrests near the capital.
Authorities said the arrests near Addis Ababa were made in response to attacks on warehouses and factories, which had been set on fire.
Members of the Oromo, Amhara and Ogaden communities came together for the protest march in Perth.
Chairman of the Ogaden community Omar Hasan said there had been many deaths in detention.
“The Ethiopian Government gained the power and they want to keep the power by gun,” he said.
“We’re urging the Australian Government to stop financing, and cut off all the democratic relationship.
“Investment should be stopped – foreign aid is misused.
“There’s a lot of civilian unrest and it’s not appropriate for Australian companies or corporates to try to invest in Ethiopia.”