Melbourne protest against Eritrean government

By Ben Courtice

Melbourne – opponents of the Eritrean government held a two-day protest
on January 5-6 outside Melbourne town hall against the annual festival
organised by the Eritrean embassy to oppose human rights abuses by the
Eritrean government and its ongoing war with Ethiopia.
Protesters distributed leaflets at the busy city intersection outside
the town hall explaining their campaign against the government of Isayas
Afeworki and the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). Many
signatures were gathered on a petition calling to prevent the PFDJ from
using public facilities and halls in Australia in the future and stop
them from raising funds under the guise of cultural festivals.
The demonstrators highlighted the lack of legality and constitutionality
of the totalitarian system, the blocking of all independent newspapers,
flagrant violations of religious freedom and the government dominance on
all economic and commercial activities in the country. Statements from
Amnesty International described brutal forms of torture common in the
country, and the imprisoning of 500 parents of draft resisters and
deserters from the conscript army.
The protest was organised by Eritrean Australians for Justice and Peace,
a coalition of groups including the Eritrean Youth Action Network*
(*EritrYANA). Australian groups attending the protest included activists
from Amnesty International and the Socialist Alliance.
After dark, films were screened explaining the deteriorating political
situation in Eritrea following the winning of independence from Ethiopia
in 1993. At the conclusion of each day’s protest, the protesters danced
together to the music of musician Hashim Samra and songs and lyricists
of Eritrean artist musician Ahmed Abdelrehim and Burundian musician
William who sung for freedom and justice.

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Posted by on Jan 14 2007 Filed under Resistance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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