A massive Oromia wide Oromo protest was called by activists in Oromia and those in diaspora to take place on August 6, 2016 and it swept the country with millions of protesters marching through towns and cities including Finfine(Addis Ababa) across Oromia, Ethiopia. The mass rallied waving the Oromo liberation flag which is red green red with sycamore surrounded by sun and a star at the top which is outlawed by the Tigrean People Liberation Front dominated Ethiopian government. The demands included stop killing Oromos, free all political prisoners, stop evicting Oromo farmers, make Afaan Oromo an official federal language, justice for the victims of government force killings, remove military out of Oromia, respect the right to self rule in Oromia to name a few. The demonstration was planned to be peaceful as the coordinators advised the Oromo mass to refrain from violence and to avoid attacking government officials and the police.
However, the government deployed forces violently reacted to the protest by brutally beating the protesters and shooting at point blank killing over 60 in different Oromia cities and towns. Citizens report that several participants were killed cold blooded by ethnic Tigray Agazi forces, and federal forces killing 13 in Asaasaa Arsi zone, 8 in Aawwadaay Hararghe, 5 in Dodolaa Arsi zone, 4 in Addelee East Hararghe, 5 in Haramaya East Hararghe, 4 in Ambo West Shawa, 4 in Naqamte East Wallaga, 2 in Mandi West Wallaga, 1 in Ghimbi West Wallaga, 1 in Shashimanne Arsi, 2 in Eddoo and 1 in Hirna Hararghe. The social media news indicates the government forces have continued to assassinate Oromo business men across different cities alleging them for funding the protests.
Since the government responded to the peaceful protests with violence the citizens and the organizers have finally decided to respond to the violence by the government by arming the civilians and warning that everyone has to be ready for self-defense. Organizers are planning to hold all Oromo organizations meeting in diaspora to chart the future roadmap for the Oromo’s struggle for independence. It is expected that the meeting will be focused on how to empower the Oromo nation for self-defense and to mobilize resources to achieve it.
The Oromo political prisoners including the Oromo Federalist Congress secretary general Beqale Garba have called on the Oromo nation to intensify the struggle. The Oromo Liberation Front chairman Dawud Ibsa also issued a statement calling for an intensified struggle and soliciting more support for OLA.
We will continue to follow up and update as the news unfold back in Oromia.