Western Australia’s Tigrean community organised a second rally on January 22 against the war being waged by the Ethiopian government on the northern province of Tigray.
The government together with the Eritrean military and militias from the neighbouring Amhara province have waged a brutal war on the people of Tigray since November 4. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and up to 60,000 people, mostly women and children, have had to flee to neighbouring Sudan.
The rally drew 300 people, more than the previous rally on January 8. It called on the Ethiopian government to end its illegal war.
Since the end of the Ethiopian Civil War in 1991, the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has ruled Tigray as a semi-autonomous province.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Aidy Ahmed merged the ethnic and regional parties that made up the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) — which had ruled the country since 1991 — into the Prosperity Party in December 2019. But the TPLF, which had been the dominant party within the EPRDF, refused to join.
After the TPLF won the Tigray regional elections in September, the Ethiopian government declared the elections illegal. The tensions eventually led to war.
The Ethiopian and Eritrean forces and Amhara militias have been accused of multiple war crimes and atrocities, including targeted killings, looting, rape, denying food and medical aid to the Tigray region.
The Ethiopian government has blocked medical and food aid, destroyed schools, universities, hospitals and other critical infrastructure and imposed a communications blackout on Tigray.
Genocide Watch has now updated the status of Tigray to “crisis stage 9”.
It was with this in mind that the rally speakers demanded an end to the genocide, as well as an end to the media blackout. They asked people to use the hashtag #TIGRAYGENOCIDE on social media as part of the campaign.
The rally also called for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Tigray and for the Eritrean troops to be withdrawn.
The rally marched through the city chanting “Stop Tigray genocide”, “Food is not a weapon” and “Free, free our people”.
[To find out more go to United Tegaru — Australia NZ on Facebook.]