Sioux Falls residents hoping to bring attention to crisis in home country of Ethiopia.

By Jesse D Christen |

A number of Sioux Falls residents are hoping to bring attention to a crisis that’s occurring in their home country of Ethiopia.

The group will gather in front of the Sioux Falls Multi-Cultural Center at 515 N. Main St. at 8 a.m. on Monday morning to start the march.

Around 2,500 Oromo people live in the Sioux Falls area. The group is protesting not only to bring attention to the country’s crisis but also with the hopes of stopping U.S. support of the country’s current political regime.

Amana Burqa is helping organize the march to draw attention to the plight of the Oromo people in the Ethiopia. The Oromo people are an ethnic group located in Ethiopia, northern Kenya and parts of Somalia.

Although Burqa has called Sioux Falls home for over a decade, he’s very concerned with what’s happening in his home country.

Recent protests in Ethiopia by Oromo protesters over the transfer of land to private investors has resulted in the deaths of over 140 Oromo people by police and military forces in the country.

And while recent turmoil in Syria remains the focal point of U.S. national news reports, Burqa hopes the march will raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis and will hopefully put some U.S. pressure on the Ethiopian government to stop their current policy of providing support to the current government.

“The regime is killing people,” Burqa said. “We’re here to be the voice for voiceless people. We are a peaceful people. The regime has come to grab our land. And when we protest we’re labeled as terrorists.”

Burqa said the Ethiopian government has a plan to move many Oromo people from their homes and take away their land in the country. The land, mostly agricultural, is being used to expand the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa.

According to Amnesty International, the current Ethiopian government has labeled the protesters as terrorists.

A similar march was held back in mid-December and drew around 30 people. This time Burqa said the group has made appointments to meet with the staff at several offices of state politicians. Plans include distributing informational material to Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune and to Rep. Kristi Noem.

“We’re asking all the senators, representatives and the government to help us out,” he said.

Source: Argus Leader
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