Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia stage protest over conditions back home


Eritrean refugees staged a protest in Ethiopia this week against the regime they fled from in their home country.

Despite Ethiopia currently having a protest ban in place, refugees from neighbouring Eritrea were granted permission by security forces to march through Addis Ababa to demonstrate their opposition to the events taking place under the rule of President Isaias Afwerki.

Eritreans march through Addis Ababa

Roughly 250 Eritrean refugees were filmed marching from Addis Ababa’s Guenet Hotel to the African Union (AU) headquarters in the capital. Demonstrators carried Eritrean flags and various banners branding slogans in Arabic, English and Tigrigna. The protestors called for the Eritrean government to stop interfering in religious matters and bring an end to indefinite military conscription.

The group submitted a petition outlining their concerns to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat. The petition also highlighted recent events in Eritrea following a peaceful protest staged in the country’s capital at the end of last month.

 Crackdown in Eritrea

On October 31st, a peaceful demonstration was held in Eritrea’s capital Asmara after a 93-year-old man was arrested by security forces as part of a government decree to close all religious schools in the country. The protest resulted in a wave of arbitrary arrests and disappearances – including dozens of children and elderly people.

Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia are marching in a bid to help those affected by recent events in their home country.

“Today’s petition and demonstration is our fourth, but, sadly, all our previous appeals for help have been met with silence, indifference and inaction. And this has only emboldened the government of Eritrea to intensify its reign of terror,” said Eritrean refugee Dr Bereket Berhane, a pathologist at St. Paul Hospital’s Millennium Medical College.

Featured image: “Eritrean demonstration in London (4 of 7)” flickr photo by Revolt Asmarino shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license


About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.