The first protests

Scores of Ethiopian students were arrested this morning after mounting the first public protests over Ethiopia’s national elections. Police charged into Addis Ababa University campuses at arat and sedist kilo to subdue the demonstrations.

According to AP:

Army’s special forces troops stood by, armed with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. Riot police with tear gas and a water cannon also stood by as regular police quelled the demonstration.

Troops were photographed using batons and the butts of their rifles to beat students in the streets and inside the campuses. Armed soldiers sealed off the whole area around the main university buildings up to near the turning to the Sheraton Hotel this morning.

A local journalist on the scene told me that a paper arranging the protest had been circulated among students last night. Somehow the police also got a copy and moved in early to prevent the demonstration spreading.

I arrived too late to see the actual protest. By the time I got there students were still being held back in the university premises and passers-by, including journalists, were barred from walking up the main streets. This photo is as close as I could get (click on it to make it bigger).

There are some much better pics here and here.

And here are some stories:

Arrests for Ethiopia poll protest (BBC)

Hundreds of Ethiopian students have been arrested in the capital, Addis Ababa, after staging protests over last month’s elections. Baton-wielding police stormed the two university campuses which the students had occupied. They had accused the ruling EPRDF party of fraud.

Ethiopian police arrest election protesters (Reuters)

Ethiopian police locked down a university in the capital on Monday and arrested scores of students protesting against election results they said were manipulated by the ruling party. Police officers rounded up chanting protesters at Addis Ababa University, the scene of deadly riots in 2001, and took them away in four trucks.

Police surround Ethiopian campuses as students defy post-election demo ban (AFP)

Ethiopian security forces surrounded two university campuses in Addis Ababa on Monday as hundreds of students defied a government ban on demonstrations to protest last month’s disputed elections, witnesses said. Ethiopian troops blocked the road to Addis Ababa University as federal police officers surrounded the Faculty of Social Sciences and the nearby Faculty of Science and Medicine where up to 900 students were protesting, alleged ruling party fraud in the May 15 polls, they said.

Ethiopia arrests election protesters (AP)

Police arrested hundreds of students who defied a government ban to protest the results of Ethiopia’s disputed legislative elections, hours after surrounding and locking down the country’s largest university on Monday…Minister of Information Bereket Simon … said not a single police officer or student had been injured, but pictures taken by an Associated Press photographer and others showed officers hitting students with the butts of assault rifles and bloodstains on the ground.

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