On December 6th 2014 security forces in Addis Ababa have beaten, harassed and arrested opposition party members, activists and leaders that participated in a peaceful demonstration organized by nine opposition parties. The demonstration was aimed at calling for the creation of a level playing field to make the May elections free and fair. Semayawi (Blue) Party with other eight opposition parties has called for demonstration to demand better political space before the coming national election. The parties have given written announcement for concerning government body.
Organizers of the demonstration submitted the legally required notification to the Addis Ababa City Government ahead of time. The City Government denied ‘permission’. Organizers and supporters proceeded with the plan to have the demonstration saying that they have fulfilled the notification requirements and they did not need permission. When the demonstrators gather to start the rally December 6 morning, members of the Addis Ababa and Federal police blocked roads and rounded up the protesters, loaded about a hundred people in police trucks and drove them to different police stations in the city. Police have reportedly beat protesters including several leaders of the Semayawi (Blue) party.
EHRP condemns the attack on peaceful protesters demands the release of all persons detained during this incident. EHRP also calls on the government of Ethiopia to respect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of peaceful assembly particularly as the country heads into the elections period.