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)
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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid