Hundreds marched through downtown Minneapolis Friday afternoon in the Little Oromia North American Grand Rally.
Hundreds marched through downtown Minneapolis Friday afternoon in the Little Oromia North American Grand Rally. The demonstrators, some of whom came from cities like Seattle and Denver, demanded justice after a summer of repression against Oromo protests in Ethiopia. Mass protests and inter-ethnic strife followed the killing of famed Oromo singer and activist, Hachalu Hundessa in late June 2020. Hundreds across Ethiopia have been killed and at the behest of Abiy Ahmed’s government, thousands of Oromo people have been jailed.
Past report – Youth Lead Summer of Oromo Protests in Minnesota: https://unicornriot.ninja/…/youth-lead-summer-of-oromo…/
A large number of Oromo political leaders, including Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba, remain in prison. Mohammed and Gerba are among two dozen that were recently given terrorism charges.
“All the Oromo opposition leaders are facing terrorism charges. Trumped-up terrorism charges that are false, so that Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister, can win the election free 100 percent. He’s a dictator pretty much.” — Oromo Human Rights Advocate
With elections in early October, Mohammed was one of the front-runners before Hundessa’s murder. Mohammed has been incarcerated since June 30, after an altercation over Hundessa’s burial that led to a police officer being killed. Just days after Mohammed was transferred to maximum security prison on charges of inciting terrorism and violence, firearms charges, and telecom fraud, hundreds marched in Minneapolis demanding he and other political prisoners be freed, among other demands.
“Our people, the Oromo, back home in Ethiopia are being oppressed and subjugated. We are here to be a voice for them.” — Oromo demonstrator who traveled from Denver to Minneapolis
Unicorn Riot was live for the beginning leg of the Grand Rally march. Oromo community members voiced a litany of grievances beyond freeing the political prisoners, some which were getting justice for Hachalu Hundessa, stop criminalizing the ‘qeerroo’ (youth), and demanding the U.S. stop funding Ethiopia. Watch our live coverage here: https://www.facebook.com/unicornriot.ninja/videos/1042380979517854/
“For the Ethiopian government, they need to stop the terrorism narrative and the qeerroos. Qeerroos are not terrorists. Qeerroo simply means ‘youth’ in Afaan Oromo. So you can’t call the entire youth in Ethiopia a terrorist.” — Oromo protest organizer
A main theme of Friday’s North American Grand Rally was to demand the U.S. government stop funding Ethiopia. According to US AID website tracker, the U.S. government has dispersed $434 million to Ethiopia so far in 2020, with an obligation of $160 million more.
Oromo attendees of the rally said that U.S. funding is being used “to buy weapons and to label Oromo politicians as terrorists.“