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 Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid