Protest is in wake of mass killings in Ethiopia

Seattle―A large demonstration blocked traffic in downtown Seattle on Tuesday as it made way to the Federal Building.

Protesters — many of whom are members of the East African Community — want Washington senators to pressure Ethiopian leaders or cut US aid in wake of the ongoing mass killings that they say is targeting ethnic Oromos in Ethiopia.

Protest has minimal traffic impacts so far

Seattle Department of Transportation reported shortly after 11 a.m. that the demonstration started at 14th Avenue and Jackson Street near the Central District.

The demonstration through Pionner Square around noon.

SDOT says lanes are subject to closure and that drivers should expect possible delays.

Here is the reason for the protest

Members of the East African Community in Seattle planned a huge rally today with regards to the ongoing mass killings targeting ethnic Oromos  in Ethiopia.”

“The Ethiopian regime is the largest U.S aid recipient in Africa and the protestors will be heading to the Federal Building to demand both Senators pressure the Ethiopian regime or cut the US aid to the dictatorial regime news release said.

They plan to send a letter to Sen. Patty Murray’s office, as well as Maria Cantwell’s.

“We, members of the Oromo community in Seattle and Metropolitan area, refugees and immigrants alike, arise in protest because we believe American aid is financing human and environmental atrocities directed against the Oromo people by the current Ethiopian regime,” a letter says in part.

About the killings in Ethiopia

Ethiopian government forces have killed more than 80 people in the past four weeks in protests in the country’s Oromia region, an Ethiopian opposition party charged Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have spread across Ethiopia’s Oromia Region, the biggest and most populous of Ethiopia’s federal states. Oromo students have led protests against the government’s plan which they charge will take lands from their region and displace thousands of farmers.

The government charges that the protesters are working with “terrorists.” It claims that only five protesters have been killed and that the development plan for the capital city, Addis Ababa,  will not deprive farmers of land. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn warned that the government “will take merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilizing the area,” speaking on Ethiopian state television.

Source: KIRO 7 News
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