Status: 07.11.2021, 4:25 p.m.
Tens of thousands of government supporters demonstrated in Ethiopia against the rebels from the Tigray region. Prime Minister Abiy swore the population to fight. The Pope urged dialogue.
In the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, tens of thousands have expressed their support for the central government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. They took part in a march in the capital Addis Ababa to show their support for the army in the fight against the rebels.
Prime Minister Abiy swore the population to fight again. The Ethiopians would have to make “sacrifices” to “save” the country, he said on Twitter.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets for Prime Minister Abiy’s government.
A coalition of nine rebel groups called for the overthrow of the government in Addis Ababa on Friday. A representative of the TPLF ruling in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray signed the alliance in Washington. In addition to the TPLF, the new alliance includes the Oromo Liberation Front (OLA), which is already allied with the TPLF, and seven lesser-known organizations from various regions and ethnic groups in the country.
Prime Minister Abiy responded adamantly: “We have more allies than the people who have turned their backs on us,” he announced. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s press service emphasized on Twitter: “For us Ethiopians it is an honor to die for our sovereignty, unity and identity.”
At the demonstration on Sunday in the center of the capital, Mayor Adanech Abebe described reports of the rebel advance on Addis Ababa as “fake news” in a speech: “They say that Addis Ababa is surrounded, but it is only surrounded by its incredible citizens, by his watchful, heroic children, “she exclaimed.
Meanwhile, a TPLF spokesman denied fears that if the rebels march into the capital, there is a risk of a “bloodbath”. The rebels only wanted to overthrow Prime Minister Abiy and had no interest in conquering the city or taking power, spokesman Getachew Reda assured in an interview with the AFP news agency.
USA orders the withdrawal of embassy staff
The US State Department on Saturday ordered the departure of all non-essential embassy employees and their families. The Foreign Office in Berlin “urgently” advises against traveling to Ethiopia and warns against traveling to the regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar. Several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, had asked their nationals days ago to leave Ethiopia.
Pope Francis calls for dialogue
Meanwhile, Pope Francis called on the conflicting parties to enter into dialogue. He was following the news from the Horn of Africa with “concern”, especially that from Ethiopia, which had been shaken by a conflict that lasted more than a year, claimed many victims and caused a serious humanitarian crisis, said Francis in his address to the faithful St. Peter’s Square.
Thousands of people have been killed in the war between Ethiopia and forces in the northern Tigray region. Millions have been uprooted and many people are starving. “I invite everyone to pray for these hard-tested populations, and I renew my appeal so that fraternal harmony and the peaceful path of dialogue may prevail,” said Francis.
On Friday, the UN Security Council called for an end to the intensifying and widening conflict and unhindered access to humanitarian aid in the fight against the hunger crisis. The World Food Program announced last week that it had appealed to all parties to the conflict to allow trucks with food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies to reach those who need them, but so far the urgent requests have gone unheeded.
Conflict started a year ago
The conflict began a year ago with an offensive by government forces against the TPLF. After the first military successes for Abiy, the tide turned. In a counter-offensive, the rebels advanced far into Tigray’s neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara. According to their own statements, they have now come around 300 kilometers to Addis Ababa from the north. The government has so far denied the rebels’ military successes.
On Tuesday, however, she declared a nationwide state of emergency. Calls from the international community for negotiations and a ceasefire have so far faded away. The TPLF had dominated the political structures and security forces in Ethiopia for almost three decades. In 2018 she was ousted from power and withdrew to her stronghold of Tigray.