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Hundreds of Ethiopians march in downtown Dallas to protest abuse in Saudi Arabia

By Robert Wilonsky
 The Dallas Morning News

Ethiopians protest Saudi Arabia outside Dallas Morning News and WFAA

Amidst reports of Ethiopian workers in Saudi Arabia being beaten, robbed and killed, protests have broken out in this country in an effort to generate media attention. One of those protests arrived at the front doors of WFAA-Channel 8 and The Dallas Morning News this afternoon.

It’s hard to say how many folks were in the crowd, which wound its way through the Central Business District, passed by the Earle Cabell Federal Building and George Allen Courts Building and ended up here. Dallas police officers escorting the protestors wouldn’t speculate, and organizers offered numbers ranging from 400 (possible) to 1,000 (not likely). But theirs was a large and loud contingent: “We need justice, we need justice!” they shouted. And they only got louder once a WFAA cameraman came outside.

Mac Mekonnen, the executive director ofMutual Assistance Association for Ethiopian Community in Dallas Ft. Worth, says the protest was organized via text messages and the organization’s website.

“This is our family,” he said. “These are our brothers and sisters who just wanted a better life, and they are being tortured and killed for it.” He said some amongst the protesters had family living in Saudi Arabia who’d been beaten. One woman pointed to a sign featuring a photo of a man with a cracked-open skull. She said that was her brother.

As they marched, Mekonnen passed out an “Open Letter to the U.S. Department of State,” which says, among other things, “The Mutual Assistance Association for the Ethiopian Community in Dallas Fort Worth strongly condemns [these] inhumane acts and call[s] upon the government of Saudi Arabia to stop the violence against Ethiopians.”

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