News / Africa

Ethiopian Opposition Threatens Protests Over Anti-terrorism Law

Ethiopians participate in an anti-government demonstration in capital city Addis Ababa, June 2, 2013. (Marthe van der Wolfe/VOA)
Ethiopians participate in an anti-government demonstration in capital city Addis Ababa, June 2, 2013. (Marthe van der Wolfe/VOA)
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— An Ethiopian opposition party called on Thursday for the government to scrap an anti-terrorism law it says is used to stifle dissent, threatening a repeat of protests that brought thousands onto the streets of Addis Ababa early this month.
 
The rally on June 2, organized by another opposition group, was the first large-scale protest in the Ethiopian capital since a disputed 2005 election ended in street violence that killed 200 people.
 
Opposition groups in the Horn of Africa country were vibrant until that vote but have since largely retreated from public view, the result, analysts say, of harassment by the authorities and divisions within their ranks.
 
They routinely accuse the government of intimidating and imprisoning their members and rigging elections against them. Ethiopia's 547-seat legislature has only one opposition member.
 
The anti-terrorism law ratified in 2009 makes anyone caught publishing information that could induce readers into acts of terrorism liable to jail terms of 10 to 20 years. Opponents say it is used indiscriminately to target anyone who opposes government policy.
 
“We shall demand that the anti-terror law be abolished immediately. It contradicts the constitution and violates the rights of people,” Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party spokesman Daniel Tefera said at a news conference in Addis Ababa.
 
In a statement, UDJ said the government was doing too little to tackle unemployment and corruption and announced a campaign of nationwide debates and rallies.
 
“If there is no positive response from the ruling regime, we shall go to court with the millions of signatures in our hands,” it said.
 
More than 10 journalists have been charged under the anti-terrorism law, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which says Ethiopia has the highest number of exiled journalists in the world.
 
The government dismisses the claims that it is cracking down on dissent and says the law is needed it its fight against separatist rebels and armed groups who it says are backed by arch-foe Eritrea.
 
Analysts say the opposition may have found renewed vigor since the death last year of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who was praised abroad for delivering strong economic growth but criticized for keeping a tight grip on power for 21 years.
 
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has for now shown no sign of a major shift in policy away from his predecessor.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid