Adwa victory day detainees to be freed by “political decision”: Report

Scores of people who were detained during Thursday’s Adwa victory day celebrations in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa are set to only be freed by “political decision”, the online media outlet Addis Maleda reported over the weekend. 

Addis Maleda reported families of the detainees have been told by authorities the individuals will not be set free by courts, but rather by a political decision (from the government). 

Addis Maleda further reported there are multiple complaints by detainees’ families that their loved ones were detained by security forces for only wearing the tricolor Ethiopian flag printed T-shirts as well as shirts showing images of Emperor Menelik and his wife Itege-taitu. 

The detentions happened during the 127 anniversary celebration of Adwa victory day in Ethiopia’s capital. 

An eyewitness told on Sunday, she saw security forces using tear gas and live fire against crowds on Thursday after some of them started chanting anti-government slogans. 

She also told Mereja, she also saw security forces beating some of the people who were part of the crowd.  

On Friday, the state backed Ethiopia Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said “Security forces overreacted” and needlessly beat people, used tear gas, plastic and lethal bullets and other “excessive” measures during the Adwa victory day celebrations. 

EHRC said the “excessive measures” by security forces which included older persons and children resulted in at least one death, several bodily injuries and distress on people gathered around Menelik square for the national holiday. 

EHRC also said a religious congregation in nearby Saint-George Church was violently disrupted by the “unnecessary and excessive actions of security forces”.

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