April 18, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – Thousands of exiled Eritrean refugees across Ethiopia are preparing to stage demonstration against their government this week .
Organisers on Monday told Sudan Tribune that the protest is aimed at pressuring the international community to take further action against the current “dictatorial’’ government, led by Isaias Afwerki.
“The protests are aimed to summon the international community to implement imposed sanctions’’ Eritrean Refugees Committee chairman Kibrom Sibhatu told.
The rallies called for 20 April 2011, also intend to make calls for further sanctions on the Red Sea nation’s government.
“It is also to calls on the international community to impose further political, economic, land, air, sea and diplomatic sanctions before the country witness like North Africa type of crises’’ Sibhatu added.
The protests against the rule in Asmara come two weeks after Addis Ababa to take military action against Eritrea, accusing it of continuous “terrorist acts” and attempts to destabilise Ethiopia.
Ethiopia once again declared it will increase its support to Eritrean rebel groups in their struggle to topple the regime of Issaias Afework on Friday.
Some 60,000 political refugees residing in five camps (some 1,500 of them In Addis Ababa), are expected to take part in the peaceful demonstration, to be held under the theme “enough is enough’’
According to organisers, the rallies set in Ethiopia are part of the demonstration planned worldwide.
Invitation letters to the major diplomatic missions based in Addis Ababa, including embassies of the US, Britain, France and others were also sent, asking the diplomatic missions to heighten their role in isolating the Asmara regime.
In the refugee camps in Aftar region near the Eritrean border, Organizers told Sudan Tribune that they are similarly prepared to stage the rallies.
“The message is clear, we will all raise our voice in condemnation to regime’s long standing ill-policies at home and towards the region in general” said Yasin Abedella, spokesperson of Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said.
“Issayas’ government is an authoritarian and regional destabilising factor. We are seeking the international community to take immediate and strong action against it.“ he added.
He noted the his organisation repeated calls on the international community to stop what he said was “genocidal policy” of the Eritrean government against the Afar ethnic minority group.
Ethiopia has been hosting Eritrean refugees for more than 10 years, following the outbreak of the Ethio-Eritrea border conflict. Since then, more than 60,000 Eritrean refugees have crossed the border into Ethiopia and sought asylum.
As most of the Eritrean refugees came from major towns of Eritrean, living in the harsh environment and unsuitable living conditions of refugee camp is difficult.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a 1998-2000 full-scale border war which claimed the lives of over 70,000 people. Formerly a province of Ethiopia, Eritrean became independent in 1993.