Ethiopia’s Tigray Opposition Leaders Reportedly Detained Prior to Gathering
Opposition leaders in Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region have been apprehended ahead of a planned rally against the ruling party, according to Hailu Kebede, a representative of the Salsay Weyane Tigray (SaWeT) party.
Among those arrested are the heads of three opposition parties, who were temporarily detained before being released. These arrests occurred as the leaders and party activists drove around in vehicles equipped with loudspeakers, encouraging people to join the upcoming protest.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades, is facing political opposition following a two-year war.
The conflict began when the federal government launched an offensive against the TPLF. In November 2022, a peace agreement was reached between the TPLF and the federal government.
However, the Tigrayan region now faces significant challenges in terms of distributing aid and restoring essential services. In response to allegations of incompetence and autocracy against the TPLF, a demonstration was planned in the regional capital Mekele.
However, the TPLF-controlled municipal authorities have declined to authorize the protest citing a lack of available police due to upcoming festivities. The TPLF aims to maintain control and prevent alternative voices from being heard.
The opposition argues that they have the right to hold a peaceful demonstration without requiring authorization from the authorities.
Mekele’s deputy mayor, Elias Kahsay, expressed concerns over the potential for the protest to turn into a riot and urged the public to oppose it. The Tigray interim administration did not provide a comment on the matter.