Ethiopians slam US in massive pro government rally amid onslaught by rebels
Tens of thousands of Ethiopians rallied in Addis Ababa on Sunday to condemn the United States and express support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government as the country’s military confronts rebels threatening to march on the city.
The rally in central Addis Ababa was the government’s latest attempt to shore up public support for the conflict against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and allied rebel groups.
The massive rally in Addis Ababa came five days after the government declared a nationwide state of emergency ostensibly to protect civilians from the TPLF, which has claimed key gains in recent days while floating a possible march on the capital.
The protests on Sunday, were also directed against countries who have called for an end to the violence.
“We don’t need interference from abroad,” read some of the placards.
Irate demonstrators denounced the United States government, which is accused of backing TPLF rebels in their year-long war that has killed thousands of people.
One of the banners carried by the demonstrators urged the US, to “stop sucking our blood”.
Credible sources indicate that TPLF is receiving intelligence support from a foreign country on the movement of the Ethiopian army including satellite imageries.
Rally-goers also held signs blasting Western media including BBC and CNN for spreading “fake news” exaggerating rebel gains.
Addis Ababa mayor Adanech Abebe said in a speech that Ethiopia’s foes were trying to “terrorize our population”.
“They say Addis Ababa is surrounded, but Addis Ababa is only surrounded by its incredible people, by its vigilant, heroic children,” she said.
She was particularly critical of the US government, which last week announced plans to boot Ethiopia out of a vital trade pact because of rights abuses related to the war.
“If aid and loans will strip us of our freedom, if they will lead us to sacrifice our freedom, we won’t sacrifice our freedom,” Adanech said, adding that the TPLF’s rightful place “is in hell”.
The Ugandan president is set to host a summit of the East African bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development on November 16 to discuss the conflict.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray last November to topple the TPLF, then the regional ruling party, a move he said came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.