Thousands of Ethiopians took to the streets of the state capital Addis Ababa on Sunday to protest the sanctions the United States imposed on the rebels in Tigray as a result of the conflict, where the Ethiopian army and its Eritrean ally were accused of abuses against the population .
Last week the US State Department announced visa restrictions “for any official of the current or former government of Ethiopia or Eritrea”, as well as members of the security forces and irregular regional forces, and urged the banks’ multilateral development agencies to suspend their funding as banks new reports of human rights violations emerge during the conflict in the region.
Last weekend, Ethiopia recognized at least two massacres in which more than 300 civilians were killed and fifty soldiers charged with rape and murder during the conflict with the rebels of the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Tigray (TPLF), not to mention the tens of thousands displaced through violence.
In response to the sanctions, a crowd has walked the streets of the capital shouting “Hands off Ethiopia” on charges of interference. “America must not interfere in the affairs of our country,” groups of young people repeated during the march, reports Radio France Internationale.
“The Americans have to understand something. We had a government in front of us,” said Joseph, one of the participants. “Its history goes back only 600 years. Ours is more than 3,000 years old. We had a government before the Americans,” he adds.
The Ethiopian government reacted to the sanctions out of dismay and anger. “The United States’ attempts to meddle in Ethiopia’s internal affairs are not only inappropriate but completely unacceptable, as the State Department stated this week after assuring that it had” tried everything “to cooperate with the US government .