Organizing Committee Hints Postponement of Nationwide Demonstrations

By Staff Reporter

Abune-MathiasSeptember 11, 2019 ( -- Nationwide demonstrations planned to take place next Sunday September 15, 2019 to protest mounting attacks against the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church could be canceled, the organizing committee of the demonstrations has hinted.

Ten associations under the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have been calling for demonstrations next Sunday across the country to protest mounting attacks against the church, including killings and burning of Ethiopian Orthodox churches.

“Members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have been slaughtered as thousands of others were forcefully displaced. Rule of law has not been respected, and several churches have been intentionally demolished. The government has been neglectful while all these were happening,” said Seifu Alemayehu, member of the organizing committee, at a press conference on Tuesday.

“The organizing committee has been discussing with concerned government authorities and it will cancel the demonstration on condition that it gets satisfactory responses from the government, he said.

According to the committee, the government should give followers of the church guarantees that they will not be attacked and their churches will not be burned down again.

Not less than 30 churches have been burned down during ethnic clashes in different parts of the country since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2019.

Last Friday, members of the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had a meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his office where Ethiopian Orthodox church fathers said the government has failed the church.

PM Abiy Ahmed has reportedly linked the attacks to challenges that appear in the aftermath of “changes.”

In a statement issued later, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Synod highlighted the contribution of the Ethiopian Church in the history of Ethiopia, and pointed out that some government officials in Oromia state are using their power to help perpetrators committing attacks against followers of the church.

The committee said the planned demonstrations have nothing to do with the new faction trying to create an ethnic Oromo Orthodox Church administration led by Kesis Belay Mekonnen.

Kesis Belay Mekonnen, who is also a politician and a member of the Oromo Democratic Party, and his colleagues insisted that they will continue with their plans to form an ethnic Oromo Ethiopian Orthodox Church structure on their own. The Holy Synod has outlawed them.

The Holy Synod called on law enforcement bodies to defend the constitutional rights of the Ethiopian people to practice their religion freely and safely.

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