California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Feb 1, 2006
An Ethiopian pro-demoracy rally that was held in Washington DC on Wednesday, Feb 1st, attracted two United States Congressmen, a high level U.S. diplomat, and a prominet American civil rights leader.
The rally started at 7 AM in front of the U.S. Department of State. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto came out and addressed the hundreds of Ethiopians who gathered there. He said that the U.S. Government is trying all it can to find solutions for the ongoing political crisis in Ethiopia.
Around 10:00 AM, the marchers arrived at the Freedom Plaza on 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue where renowned civil rights leader Dr Joseph E. Lowery gave a moving speech about the right of Ethiopians to chose their government.
At 12:45 PM, the marchers arrived in front of the U.S. Congress where Tegbar League, in collaboration with Ethiopian Review and its contacts, arranged for California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to address the gathering. The Republican Congressman said that Ethiopians have the right to wage a peaceful struggle for democracy, and the U.S. will stand with them. Congressman Rohrabacher’s remarks renewed the hope of Ethiopians that the U.S. will move towards supporting Ethiopians in their struggle for freedom against the brutal dictatorship.
The next appearance was by Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, Chairman of the House African Affairs Sub Committee. He gave a similarly inspiring speech, which drew loud cheers. His assistant, Gregory Simpkins also gave a brief speech on HR4423 and called on the Meles regime to release all political prisoners.
After the rally, which ended around 3 PM, some of the marchers who came from out of town went to a reception that was hosted by Tegbar League’s Washington DC chapter. Among the guest were CUD leader Ato Hailu Shawel’s son, Anteneh, who came from Minneapolis for the march.
During the march, Tegbar members distributed over 2,000 flyers that has information about the civic group and membership form in the back. Members also sold huts, whistles and tee-shirts as means of fund raising.
Tegbar brought to the march several poster size photos of CUD leaders, and two large banners that calls for the immediate resignation of Meles Zenawi.
The rally was organized by CUD, UEDF, Ethiopiawinet National Movement, and Tegbar League, in collaboration with Ethiopian radio, print, and Internet media.