December 7, 2022

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians rally in Addis Ababa in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, ask U.S. to stop ‘sucking Ethiopia’s blood’, call CNN ‘fake news’

Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians rallied in Addis Ababa on Sunday in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. They accused the United States of supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and their allies who are advancing toward the capital.

One demonstrator’s placard read, “Shame on you USA,” while another called on the United States to stop “sucking Ethiopia’s blood.” Many demonstrators said the United States was interfering in their domestic affairs and backing the “TPLF terrorists.” The demonstrators also denounced western media for taking side with the rebels, accusing CNN, BBC, Reuters and others of being “fake news.”

The United States, the United Nations, the African Union and others, including Kenya and Uganda, have recently called on all parties to lay down their weapons and negotiate, asserting that war would not end the conflict. The United States has also said it was against any TPLF advance toward the Ethiopian capital, warning that a civil war in Africa’s second most populous nation would be devastating and last many years.

But the government of Abiy vowed to keep fighting last week, saying on Friday that it had a responsibility to secure Ethiopia, and that now is the time for the International community to stand with the country and not rebel forces from the north.

TPLF has been designated a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, however, the United States sees the organization as a necessary player to ending the current crisis.

As the conflict has continued to worsen, displacing more than 2 million people, killing thousands more and leaving about 400,000 at an increased risk of famine, the United States has been the most vocal in calling for a peaceful resolution to raging war, and has threatened to impose sanctions to force all sides to negotiate.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on COVID-19 and the economy

Last Tuesday, U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced that he is planning to remove Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade agreement, accusing the East African nation of gross human rights violations.

Mr. Biden on September 17 authorized the U.S. government to impose sanctions on all those undermining peace in Ethiopia. Those sanctions have not yet been imposed as the Biden administration tries to exhaust all peaceful means.

Other players have also been pushing for negotiations. On Sunday, African Union Special Envoy and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and the United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths arrived in Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray. Their arrival was first reported by Reuters and confirmed by several other sources.

Obasanjo is expected to find bring all sides to the same table to talk. Whether that would happen is difficult to predict.

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