Journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, opposition politician Andualem Arage, bloggers Zelalem Workagegnehu and Befekadu Hailu were among those detained Sunday.

By Nazir Manek (Bloomberg) |

ADDIS ABABA―Ethiopian police arrested 12 opposition activists, including previously freed detainees, after they displayed a flag that differs from the official national banner.

Those arrested include four members of the opposition Blue Party, two journalists including Eskinder Nega, the former vice chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP, aka Blue Party) Andualem Arage, and three members of the Zone 9 blogging collective, according to the chairmen of the two opposition parties.

● The 12 people who were arrested on March 25 are (1) Temesgen Desalegn, (2) Andualem Arage, (3) Eskinder Nega, (4) Mahlet Fantahun, (5) Befeqadu Hailu, (6) Woyneshet Molla, (7) Zelalem Workagegnehu, (8) Addisu Getaneh, (9) Yidnehackew Addis, (10) Sintayehu Chekol, (11) Fekadu Mahtemework, and (12) Tefera Tesfaye.

The arrests took place Sunday at a private house in Lebu on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, Blue Party Chairman Yeshiwas Assefa said by phone. About 70 activists had met separately earlier Sunday at a Blue Party lunch in the city to celebrate the recent release of prisoners from across Ethiopia, Yeshiwas and UDJP Chairman Tigistu Awelu said.

“The only thing they tell the prisoners, the comrades, is why are you using this flag?” Yeshiwas said. “They said nobody can enter into the police station, and we will tell you after we investigate them.”

Yeshiwas and UDJP Chairman Tigistu Awelu said.

“The only thing they tell the prisoners, the comrades, is why are you using this flag?” Yeshawas said. “They said nobody can enter into the police station, and we will tell you after we investigate them.”

Ethiopia has been under emergency rule since mid-February, when Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stepped down after failing to quell two years of sporadic anti-government protests in the country’s Oromia and Amhara regions. Hailemariam’s resignation followed pledges to free more than 7,000 detainees and implement political reforms.

Continue reading this story at Bloomberg
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