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Report on the June 6/7 Student Unrest

By MediaETHIOPIA Correspondent

Published: June 7, 2005

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia┬á– On June 5, 2005 (Sunday evening), there was a talk of boycout of the university cafeteria. In the same night, pamphlets calling for the boycott and protest marches were passed around the campuses. The police who had obtained some of the copies of the protest letters started arresting students staying at the Addis Ababa University dormitaries.

In the morning of June 6, 2005 (Monday), the students gathered for a protest in the campuses and by 8:00 AM, they had taken over the main gates at Sidist Kilo which they closed. The protest then spread to the Amst and Arat Kilo campuses. By Mid-morning, as soon as the news of the student unrest spread in Addis Ababa, almost all elementary and secondary schools were ordered closed by their administrators. Parents were seen rushing to schools to pick their children. By late morning, the police broke into the AAU campuses and started breaking the demonstrations. The police used clubs and the butts of their guns to assault the protesting students.

Accourding to government sources, the Police have arrested 300 students from Sidist Kilo, 70 from Arat Kilo and another 150 from the Kotebe Teacher’s Training College. The government media has accused the opposition forces for inspiring the protests. So far, one casualty was confirmed at Kotebe Teacher’s College where a girl student reportedly died. Unconfirmed reports also suggest that there may have been other civilian casualty in the Kokebe Tsibah School area where high-school students attempted to stop police trucks carrying student prisoners.

By the evening of Monday, the Police had also rounded up about 50 young people in the Piazza area. The city was reportedly quiet in late afternoon and evening with the ‘Federal’ police passing authority to the Addis Ababa regular police forces. On Tuesday (June 7, 05), normalcy seems to have returned to the city with elementary and high-school students going back to scool. Traffic, however, is reportedly thin.

The focus of fresh unrest for the day was the campus of the Vocational School which houses hundreds of students at the Mexico square in the south western part of the city. Hundreds of students were beaten and arrested after the Police broke to the campus. No casualty has been reported so far. While the city seems calm, the residents of this city of 4 millions are edgy with the government continuing its warning to all potential demonstrators.

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