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Thousands demonstrate in Ethiopia against foreign interference

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA -  Ethiopians gather to show their support to federal government forces fighting against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) at Abebe Bikila Stadium in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 17, 2020. (Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency)
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Oct 24, 2022 - 03:09 AM

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – Thousands of Ethiopians staged nationwide demonstrations on Saturday to denounce what they referred to as foreign interference and pressure in the country’s internal affairs, local media reported.

In the capital Addis Ababa, demonstrators carried banners that read “A threat to Ethiopia is a threat to the world” and “respect the sovereignty of Ethiopia.”

Other banners had words accusing the US of disrespecting Ethiopia’s sovereignty.

“Foreign countries need to stop meddling in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and should refrain from supporting rebel forces, in particular the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies,” Jantrar Abay, deputy mayor of Addis Ababa, told the crowd, according to local daily Addis News.

The sovereignty of Ethiopia must be respected, Ethiopians will continue to stand in unity to safeguard the sovereignty of their country, he added.

Protests were staged in other major cities of the country.

The demonstrations came on the back of mounting pressure on Addis Ababa following resumption in August of fighting in northern Ethiopia between government forces and the TPLF rebels after a five-month truce.

The Ethiopian government accused the TPLF of resuming the latest fighting which halted humanitarian aid flow to parts of northern Ethiopia.

Peace talks between the government and rebels are due in South Africa next week.

“Ethiopia is ready for the peace negotiations set to be held in South Africa, as the government has been saying it is ready to go anywhere and anytime to peacefully resolve the conflict,” Demeke Mekonnen, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, told diplomats in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

“As residents here, you would understand the devastating consequences of a fourth round of conflict. The TPLF must be denied the opportunity to rearm and mobilize again for a fourth round of conflict,” he added.

On Friday, the US voiced support for the talks mediated by the African Union to stop fighting in Tigray.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US permanent representative to the UN, warned “it is past time to lay down arms.”

Since November 2020, the war in Ethiopia between the government-allied troops and forces loyal to the TPLF has left millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

On Tuesday, the government announced plans to resume humanitarian aid and services in recently captured areas in the conflict-hit northern Tigray region after government forces claimed the towns of Shire, one of the main towns in Tigray, Alamata, and Korem, after pushing back the rebels.

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