By Mintesnot Zewde Berhane,
June 5th, 2013/ Toronto
Ethiopian Canadians gathered in the early morning of June 5th, 2013 from the two ends of the City of Toronto to join their compatriots in Ottawa in hundreds to protest against the series of human rights violation by the ever increasingly tyrant government of Ethiopia.
Amid the demonstrating crowd in the capital which is also a touristic destination for many, bystanders were very surprised to see Muslims and Christians side by side protesting the lack of freedom of religion, ethnic cleansing in different part of Ethiopia, the genocide and the land grab in Ethiopia, the crackdown against journalists and political dissidents, as well as the vendetta against their religious and political leaders.
Reverend Mesale Enguede of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Exile and Mr. Abu Rashid of the Ethiopian Muslim Council spoke at the occasion. In their speeches, they reiterated the ancient history of Ethiopia the harmonious coexistence of the two religions centuries.
Reverend Mesale Engude said that “Ethiopia have had so many problems in the past but she overcame them with the courage and determination of its hardworking citizens and heroes/heroine.”
Mr Abu Rashid also expressed his anger towards the Ethiopian government’s effort to impose alien doctrine on Muslim Ethiopians. He wondered how would a government select and impose a certain sect over all other Muslims. Abu Rashid stated that “the Let Our Voice Be Heard” struggle will continue until a fully democratic state is created in Ethiopia.
Shortly after the two religious leaders spoke to the gathered crowd, opposition Member of Parliament, and a friend of Ethiopia, Paul DEWER raised his concern about the serious human right offenses committed by the Ethiopian government.
The founder of SMNE, Mr. Obang Metho, Human right activists and other community leaders also took part in this rally. The demonstrators called upon the government of Canada to condemn the human rights violations in Ethiopia and stop supporting the repressive regime in Ethiopia.
Among the slogans held by the protesters were the following: “JUSTICE FOR MURDERED ETHIOPIANS”, “CANADA SHOULD CONDEMN RELIGIOUS INTERFERENCE IN ETHIOPIA”, “DEMOCRACY NOW IN ETHIOPIA”, “CANADA SAY NO TO ETHNIC CLEANSING AND RELIGIOUS SUPPRESSION IN ETHIOPIA”, “MUSLIM AND CHRISTIANS ARE UNITED IN ETHIOPIA”.
Mintesnot Zewde Berhane, Toronto, Canada