Tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered at the Meskel Square in the capital of Addis Ababa to denounce foreign interference and pressure in the country’s internal affairs.
Speaking to the crowd, Addis Ababa City Mayor Adanech Abiebi stressed that neither the multifaceted external pressure nor ongoing attack by rebels would deter Ethiopians from realizing the national development aspirations, Xinhua news agency reported.
The demonstration mainly aimed to showcase popular support to the national call made by the Ethiopian government to defend the country from what it described as “internal and external enemies of the country,” in particular the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies.
According to Abiebi, the hidden target of ongoing foreign interference and multifaceted external pressure on the East African country is aimed at subjugating the Ethiopian state to foreign interests.
The Mayor stressed that “Ethiopians will undoubtedly avert any interference and pressure standing together in unity.”
The public demonstration came days after the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) endorsed a six-month nationwide state of emergency rule amid expanding conflict in the northern part of the country.
The decision to impose the state of emergency rule also came in line with the national call to support the Ethiopian Army in the ongoing fighting against forces loyal to the TPLF, including the call to veteran members of the Ethiopian Army to fight alongside the Ethiopian Defence forces.
Over the past several days, the TPLF declared control of key cities in Amhara region, Dessie and Kombolcha, some 380 km north of the capital. This was, eventually, followed by huge popular mobilization by the Amhara and Afar regions to fight back the TPLF’s expansion.
Since the early hours of November 4, 2020, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the TPLF.
In late June, the government announced a unilateral ceasefire in Tigray, but forces loyal to the TPLF soon took control of much of the area in the region, including the regional capital.
The conflict has since expanded to Tigray’s neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.
The HoPR, the lower house of the Ethiopian parliament, has designated the TPLF as a terrorist organization.
The Ethiopian government had previously assigned an interim administration in Tigray after the ouster of the TPLF, which used to rule the region.