By: Justice For Eritrea
The Demonstration was a success. We are thankful to the organizers.
You can see from the pictures and videos on facebook (e.g. http://facebook.com/justiceforeritrea) that there were many people. The demonstration was held because the rumor went around that the dictator of Eritrea himself would attend a so-called ‘cultural event’ in Giessen, Germany that was held by supporters of the oppressive regime from the diaspora. However, contrary to the rumors, the Eritrean Ministry of Information announced on Friday that the dictator had return home directly from his visit to the UN assembly in New York. Some say that he was not allowed to enter into Germany. Anyways, he was probably not there. Unfortunately, these news had the consequence that many protestors who had planned to come from further away decided to stay back home.
The protestors first met at 4 p.m., a little bit down the street from the entry to the Higdef event, waiting for the police who were guiding the official demonstration. Everybody said hello and the numerous banners and signs were shown araound. Among others, there were people from all different parts of Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia. When some government supporters passed by to get to their event, everybody began to shout ‘down, down, Isayas!”. One protestor even snatched an Isayas Fan-T-Shirt from the Higdefs and later burned it. The response of the Higdefs was only the usual “Agame, agame”.
When the police had arrived, the procession went right passed the entry of the Higdef event, which was held at the convention center. The Higdefs saw the protestors but only laughed at them and threw insults. However, there weren’t so many of them, maybe also because the organizers had kept the details of the event secret, probably in anticipation of protests.
The march went twice around the compound of the convention center; the protestors were singing and shouting the whole way. It was very spiritual. The police stopped the traffic and the people on the streets were watching the procession, trying to figure out what was going on. There was a little commotion at the side of the procession as one of the Higdef tools started to take pictures of the all the protestors, trying to create some sort of intimidation. Out of the window of some houses families were waving and applauding, sympathizing with the protestors and their call for freedom and democracy.
After the second round the police first blocked the way towards the entry of the Higdef event where the closing proclamation was planned to be held. Apparently, the Higdefs had complained about the protestors. After some negotiations, the German police, who seemed sympathetic to the protestors call to end the dictatorship, allowed the protestors to walk one last time to the entry of the Higdef event.
There the closing proclamation was held. At the end of this proclamation spoke the young daughter of Ermias ‘Papayo’ Debessay in German; she was born and raised in Germany mostly in the absence of her father, who is held as a political prisoner by the regime since 1997. She held an inspiring speech, next to her a large sign which read “Where is my Father?”, with a picture of her father. Ermias Debessay is a famous freedom fighter and former ambassador of Eritrea to the UK and China.
Altogether it was nice to see so many Eritreans on the street who voice their opinion. The more people there are who begin to protest, the harder it will become for Isayas to ignore us and the more confidence our brothers and sisters in Eritrea will get. So keep up the good work!