Hundreds rally at Manitoba legislature, call on Canada to support Ethiopia government as bloodshed continues

Hundreds of people gathered on Manitoba’s legislative grounds on Sunday carrying Ethiopian flags and signs that said “No More.”

They rallied to raise awareness about a bloody war in Ethiopia and to call on the Canadian government to do more to support the east African country’s government in its fight against what they say is a terrorist organization, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Winnipeg’s No More rally was part of a number of similar protests across the country on Sunday.

“Canada, as an advocate for peace and stability, as a role model in the world, proclaiming peace and stability, Canada has to do more, specifically supporting … the internally displaced people,” said Fisaha Unduche, who helped organize the rally.

As the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed struggles to keep the liberation front from encroaching on the capital, millions are caught in the fray.

Fisaha Unduche helped organize the #NoMore protest in Winnipeg. It’s part of a number of similar protests across the country calling for the Canadian government to provide support for leaders in Ethiopia as they fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. (Travis Golby/CBC)

More than two million people have been displaced, and thousands have been killed, Unduche said.

On Saturday, the federal government urged any Canadians currently in to leave the country immediately as Canada’s ability to provide consular assistance in parts of the country is Ethiopia extremely limited.

Although the conflict in Ethiopia has made headlines over the last year, the TPLF was started in the 1970s and held power in the country for many years, up until 2018.

Another organizer Markos Tegegn said the group is accused of many human rights abuses.

“We have fought for many years, for 27 years, the TPLF has been killing, murdering, torturing, raping, stealing from Ethiopian people. After many struggles and fights we have got our freedom, we have democracy,” he said.

“What we hear is really bad … Wherever they [go], it’s total destruction,” said Alex Gizaw, who represents the group Ethio-Dejen in Manitoba, which supports internally displaced people in Ethiopia.

Markos Tegegn helped organize the #NoMore rally outside of the legislature on Sunday. He strongly opposes the actions of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and calls it a terrorist organization. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Meanwhile, western countries like the U.S. are interfering in the region by siding with the TPLF and causing more issues than they’re solving, organizers say.

“What’s happening on the front line, what’s going on to our people is not being depicted properly and accurately. That’s what we know,” Tegegn said.

“Any interference caused by the misinformation creates a major backfire in the region. We’re calling the Western countries, specifically the United States, take off your hands of Ethiopia, let Ethiopia solve its own problems by themselves,” Unduche added.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Manitoba Legislature to call on western countries like the U.S. to stop interfering in Ethiopia and for Canada to support the Ethiopian government in its fight against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Others claim discrimination by Ethiopian government

In contrast, some Ethiopians living in Manitoba who are from the Tigray and Oromo regions of the country who were not part of the rally say the Ethiopian government-backed forces are committing human rights abuses there.

Independent groups like Amnesty International allege human rights abuses on both sides of the conflict.

Some refugees living in the Winnipeg say they haven’t been able to reach family in battle zones for months because of a communication blackout.

They don’t know if their loved ones are alive or dead.

Residents dig through rubble from a destroyed building at the scene of an airstrike in Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on Oct. 28, 2021. An Ethiopian government spokesperson said the airstrike was targeting a site used by rival Tigray forces to make and repair weapons, while a Tigray spokesperson instead said it struck a ‘civilian residence,’ killing six people and wounding more than 20. (The Associated Press)

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ahmed urged residents of the capital Addis Ababa to take up arms against the rebels a day after a state of emergency was declared.

Advocates for people in the Tigray and Oromo regions are asking Canada to help protect their safety and ensure humanitarian groups are allowed to enter the region.


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Publish date : 2021-11-21 23:59:47

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