U.S. embassy in Ethiopia defends closure over planned protests
(africanews)—The United States embassy in Ethiopia has closed its doors today (September 19) over what it said was an abundance of caution in the light of large scale demonstrations expected in Addis Ababa.
The embassy subsequently announced a cancellation of all services and appointments asking the public to reschedule their appointments via the website.
“Americans requiring emergency assistance should visit the U.S. Embassy website for contact information. Additionally, the American Center in Addis Ababa and the Satchmo Center at the U.S. Embassy will be closed tomorrow.
“We encourage all those involved in the demonstrations to express themselves peacefully,” the statement issued on Tuesday concluded.
Ethiopians online questioned the basis of the Embassy’s information about a protest to which they issued a response on Wednesday morning.
“Regarding Q’s about decision to close our Embassy today-when we receive info we have to make decisions about security even if info is not specific. US law requires us to share that decision publicly. We decided to be cautious. We hope today is calm & peaceful in Addis,” the embassy said in a tweet.
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa will be closed tomorrow, Sept 19 out of an abundance of caution in light of large scale demonstrations expected in Addis. Please see the image for details. We encourage all those participating in the demonstrations to express themselves peacefully. pic.twitter.com/41hm2uFyQX
— U.S. Embassy Addis (@USEmbassyAddis) September 18, 2018
Meanwhile, state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporate has reported that there were no protests planned for the capital as alleged by the Embassy.
The FBC story cited federal police commissioner Jemal Zeinu as stating that the capital will not experience any protest and that residents should go about their usual day-to-day activities.
The British Embassy is aware the US embassy is closed today, as is the International Community School. British embassy open as usual until further notice. All staff to take care coming in and if any issues should remain at home.
— UK in Ethiopia 🇬🇧 (@UKinEthiopia) September 19, 2018