Ethiopians Demonstrate Against Tigray Forces

Thousands of protesters on Sunday demonstrated at Meskeq Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Demonstrators from Oromia region, the largest ethnolinguistic group in Ethiopia, and from elsewhere with farmers on decorated horses marching through the crowd chanting songs.

Sunday’s protests – which had the theme: “I will march to save Ethiopia” – is the second of such rallies in less than a month. It came two days after TPLF forces entered the UNESCO World Heritage site, Lalibella, a historic town featuring 12th century-built monolithic churches.

The demonstrators held up signs with slogans such as “We will safeguard the unity of Ethiopia through sacrifice.”

They also displayed posters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, chanting “Thank you, Erdogan,” for his support for stability in Ethiopia.

Erdogan, speaking over the phone with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Aug. 1, said Turkey held peace and stability in Ethiopia with importance and would continue to provide all kinds of support.

The TPLF ruled Ethiopia for 27 years as the head of a four-party alliance until 2018, when it was overthrown largely by a group of youth from Ethiopia’s two most populous regions, Oromia and Amhara.

Its rule was characterized by repression of dissent, high-profile corruption, and human rights violations.

Last November, TPLF forces raided the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, killing soldiers and looting significant military hardware. In response, the Ethiopian government launched an extensive law enforcement operation against TPLF leaders.

Ethiopia’s government declared a unilateral cease-fire on June 29, reportedly to give farmers in Tigray the chance to harvest their land, and retreated from Tigray.

The TPLF rejected the cease-fire and encroached on the lands of neighbouring regional states Amhara and Afar.

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