Ethiopia: Thousands rally in support of government forces | News | DW | 07.11.2021

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Ethiopia: Thousands rally in support of government forces

Supporters of Ethiopia's government have taken to the streets of Addis Ababa, with many holding signs criticizing the US decision to remove Ethiopia from a trade pact earlier this week.

People gather at a rally organized by local authorities to show support for the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF)

Thousands of people gathered in Addis Ababa to support government troops

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday in a show of support for the Ethiopian government and armed forces. 

The rally comes a few days after the government declared a state of emergency earlier this week amid gains claimed by Tigrayan forces advancing toward the capital. 

Protesters also spoke out against trade sanctions imposed by the US in response to what Washington called "gross violations" of human rights in the spiraling conflict.

Local media reported that protesters massed in Meskel Square in the center of the capital city, with some draped in national flags and others holding posters reading: "We don't need interference from abroad."

"Shame on you USA," read one demonstrator's poster, while another said the US should stop "sucking Ethiopia's blood."

Other demonstrators rejected calls for the government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) to begin talks.

Similar demonstrations are also reported to have taken place in other cities around the country. 

Government under pressure 

Ethiopian forces have been locked in a protracted conflict with the TPLF for over a year.

On Friday, the TPLF linked up with opposition groups to form an alliance looking to unseat Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Abiy has called on the people of Ethiopia to take up arms against the TPLF and will be allowing those of military age to be conscripted.

The conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region. Over 7 million people, including 5 million in Tigray, are in need of humanitarian assistance,according to UN figures.

Tigrayan fighters say they don't want 'bloodbath'

The TPLF on Sunday rejected claims there would be a bloodbath if they entered Addis Ababa.

The organization's spokesman, Getachew Reda, told the AFP news agency that the capital is "a melting pot" home to "people with all kinds of interests."

"The claim that Addis Ababa will turn into a bloodbath if we enter is absolutely ridiculous," the spokesman said. 

Getachew said the group's primary goal was to overthrow Ethiopia's leadership, and seizing the capital was not an objective.

Tigrayan fighters have managed to take control of two strategic cities a few months after retaking the regional capital of Mekele in June.

kb/wmr (AFP,dpa, Reuters)

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