Demonstration – Lobbying at the U.S. Congress

December 21st, 1999

PRESS RELEASE
December 21, 1999, Washington DC

Today, Ethiopians held another demonstration in front of the U.S. Congress in Washington DC, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. Braving the rain and cold wind, the demonstrators stood at the corner of Independence and New Jersey Ave. carrying umbrellas and placards, some of which read:

U.S. Government:- Stop Supporting Dictators in Ethiopia!
Help Free the Political Prisoners in Ethiopia!

The purpose of today’s demonstration was to make the U.S. Government and the international community aware of the gross human rights violations in Ethiopia, particularly the plight of the thousands of prisoners of conscience. After the demonstration, representatives of the League and the Wolayita Development Association met with Mr Michael Westphal, Legislative Assistant to Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The representatives appealed for Senator Helms’ intervention regarding the thousands of political prisoners and the recent mass arrest, torture & killing of students and teachers in the Wolayita region of Ethiopia. The representatives also gave Mr. Westphal the latest report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council and other documents. After the discussion, which lasted about one hour, Mr. Westphal advised the representatives that Senator Jesse Helms takes human rights issues seriously and that his office will investigate the cases we presented.

Fit. Mekonnen Dori, Dr. Taye Woldesemayat, Ato Abera Yemaneab, Ato Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin, Prof. Alemayehu Tefera, Shaleqa Getachew Mengiste and other brave Ethiopians continue to languish in disease-infested jails under inhumane conditions. Fitawrari Mekonnen’s health is in critical condition, and he is deprived of proper medical treatment. We demand Meles Zenawi’s regime to stop this inhumane treatment of a 70-year-old patriotic Ethiopian.

Ethiopian Democratic Action League, in cooperation with other civic and political organizations, is organizing weekly demonstrations in front of the Ethiopian embassy and the U.S. Congress to voice our demand for the respect of human rights and the release of thousands of prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia. The next demonstration is scheduled for TUESDAY, December 28, starting at 12 noon in front of the Ethiopian embassy.

We are calling on everyone in the Washington DC area who stands for freedom and justice to join us in the weekly demonstrations to give voice to Ethiopia’s voiceless prisoners of conscience.

We also call on everyone to help make the economic boycott of TPLF-owned commercial enterprises a success. For more information about TPLF’s monopoly of the Ethiopian economy, please contact us at TEGBAR@juno.com.

We Demand Freedom!
We Demand Respect for Human Rights!