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Semayawi(Blue) Party’s second successful demonstration

One of this year plans was to awake the public at large into participating in politics without a fear. Of all the methods we engaged in demonstration was one of it. On April 27, 2014, we decided to have the protest. Our enquiries are very clear: TPLF/EPRDF is incapable of ruling so it has to leave power and religious interference by the ruling party has to stop, forcing citizens to leave their neighborhood because of their ethnic group is a crime and that has to stop and forcing citizen to leave and demolishing their houses without any compensation because of ‘development’ is unlawful and negligent. Those are the issues we mainly raised in the protest.
When the day and place first decided, we wrote a letter for Addis Ababa City administration office to let them know about it. Within few hours they sent us a letter that suggests a change of date for a vague reason which is stated as “because there will be international meetings in the city” which is as well far from the truth. Then we had to send another letter to inform them that their reply was unacceptable for it lacks clarity and that conflict with the 1987’s proclamation of public gatherings. While three of the demonstration organizing committee delegates went to give the letter, the officer at desk snubbed and left them at the office with the letter. “He,” they said, “was scared and unconfident to receive the letter. Finally they counted witnesses and left the letter and returned back.
A day, two days . . . passed. According to the 87’s proclamation “unless you’re given an excuse to change because of a vivid reason in 12 working hours it will be considered as officially accepted and known. Therefore in regards to that we started to act; prepared all the flyers to promote the protest, give orientations to members and etc. Monday was the first time we started our promotion. There were 10 teams in all sub cities. Later in late afternoon two teams who went out to Kasanchiz and Gulele got caught by the police and were detained. In the morning they appeared to the court house. Six of them at Arada court house and the other 7 at Mexico court house. The first six were presented and without any dialogue nor argument they were sent back to prison to be brought back in 7 days as requested by the police; those who were presented at Mexico court house were bailed out 1000 birr each.

The next day a letter came from the city office. It issued a filling of a form about the demonstration. Then the organizers thought it was right and went. Yet during the process the officer told them to change the place from Janmeda to other place. They couldn’t accept the change and left the office. It took almost two days to settle the argument about the place. At last the organizing committee and the executive members decided to change the place to Signal Meda(woreda 8 meda) because of a road to Janmeda under construction. Though on Thursday about 14 members counting 2 executives were arrested while distributing flyers and promoting the demo’.
On Friday again police arrested some of our members who went out promoting the demo’. Six members and two cars with all the electronics that were about to be used were detained. When this happened three executive members: the chairman Eng. Yilkal Getnet, Ato Sileshi Feyisa(Vice Chairperson and Demo’ Organizing Committee Assistant Convener) and Ato Brhanu T/Yared(Public Relations Head and Demo’ Organizing Committee Convener) went to discuss the matter with the officials yet as soon as they got out of the office three of them were detained and had to walk to Yeka police station guarded with many polices. The scene looked like some sort of terrorists got caught.
Late at night that evening Eng. Yilkal Getnet was forced to leave the prison separately from the other two comrades. However Yilkal refused to go out and had to go through a long argument with the officials at the station. He insisted not to leave because there was no reason to why he should separately return home while they were caught and had been working together. Nevertheless it was “meaningless and was not productive” so he came back around 09:00pm in the evening.

Consequently supporters, members and leaders of Semayawi(Blue) Party determinedly insisted on keep going and make sure that the demonstration would go as planned even though more than 30 members including 4 executives remained in prison. It was believed at the time that the ruling party was trying to break us down. The regime wanted us to call off the demonstration. In fact not only the regime but also some political personalities didn’t expected Semayawi would execute the event while many of its members and leaders were still in prison.
Conversely on Sunday morning we went out. It was very colorful and loud. All the participants were whistling, blowing ‘turumba’(trumpet), shouting out loud and experience the free breath of fear free environment. The protest went like that until it got to Adwa Square. At the square the police prohibited the crowed from going to the route Semayawi decided to go through. There happened the extraordinary during the confrontation with the police. Unlikely many of the partakers in the protest stood firm and demanded a way through to Balderas which the police debarred. None went back – many joined the push-forward at some point the police could not handle the pushing forward so they were about to start beating then at that point someone at the front told the crowd to kneel down. It was done and the police was confused and couldn’t do a thing. Then when it was calm the confrontation started all over again. While the struggle to pass through the way was going on some assigned representatives of the party were dealing with the police officers. They explained and showed them the form. After a while the route was open and Eng. Yilkal, who were in the middle of the confrontation himself, wave his hand to move forward and all screamed of joy and moved on for all courageously stood for their rights and earned it.
The demonstration was so peaceful and boldly stated all the problems in the country and underlined the incapability of the ruling party to lead this big nation and it need to leave power. Many protesters had been voice of the millions. It was such a symbolic protest that gives lesson to all and motivates many to be brave enough to stand for their rights and to fight for it peacefully yet assertively.
When this report is written about 26 were still arrested and demanding justice because they have been asked a bail about 5000br and an identity card of a person who works for government organizations for 6 prisoners each; 1600br and an ID for 14 prisoners each, and 1000br and an ID for 6 prisoners each in total 58,400br asked for bailing them out. The arrested claimed and argued that they haven’t done anything against the law and they should be freed without any bail or anything like that.
With all the drama, in general, Semayawi (Blue) party executed its second demonstration successfully in regards to its objectives which are mentioned over. It cost the party a lot yet gained even more. Many of us needed to spend a week or two in prison, some are still in jail to motivate and awake the people and make their voice be heard. Many invested out of their pocket yet be happy for all sees hope in the progress.

The change is sure to come and we are ready to carry the load and the burden.

Ethiopia rises and all will be fine!
Semayawi(Blue) Party!