Ethiopia: Thousands protest against Biden Visa restrictions

The US President Joe Biden has come under heavy criticism from Ethiopians following his foreign policy on Ethiopia, which they said gives legitimacy to the rebels in the Tigray Region to violate the country’s constitution and values that unify the country.

 

More than 10,000 people went to the streets on Sunday in the nation’s capital Addis Ababa to demand that US President Biden change his foreign policy on Ethiopia and stand with the Ethiopian government to fight against terrorism in the troubled region.

 

Last week, the US government imposed visa restrictions on senior Ethiopian and Eritrean officials, both former and current, for promoting violence in the restive region despite calls for the two countries to reduce crimes against humanity and seek a peaceful way to resolve the seven-month conflict.

 

In their visa restrictions last week, the Biden administration stressed that the Ethiopian government has the moral responsibility to reduce the level of violence in the Tigray Region and demanded that Eritrean soldiers respect international conventions by withdrawing from the Tigray Region.

 

According to the US secretary of state, both countries have committed crimes against humanity in their fight against the rebels and called for soldiers who have committed crimes against humanity to be punished according to the law.

Sources say today’s rally was organized by the country’s Ministry of Women, Children, and Youths under the theme “Our voice for freedom and sovereignty.” 

 

Adanech Abebe, Mayor of Addis Ababa, told Reuters news agency that “America and its associates, without understanding the ways of the TPFL forces and their disastrous acts, they are interfering in our domestic affairs by imposing travel sanctions and prerequisites which can by no means be accepted,” he said.

 

Another protester told Reuters that the US should stop supporting the rebels who are the ones causing trouble in the region. “We cannot accept that the US interferes into our politics,” he said.

In November last year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a full military assault in the Region when the rebels refused to respect the 72-hour ultimatum given by the Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

 

Eritrean soldiers were accused of helping Ethiopia’s federal forces in fighting the rebels, allegations which they rejected but Abiy Ahmed later accepted early this year.

 

He claimed the soldiers had pulled out of the Region, but a recent CNN investigation showed that Eritrean soldiers are still active in the field.

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