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Eritrean opposition force calls for Egypt-style uprising

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February 28, 2011 (SEMERA) – An exiled Eritrean opposition force has called for Egypt and Libya-type mass protests to end the rule of the east African nation’s government, which is led by president Isaias Afeworki.

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Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (arhotabba)

The Eritrean leader has been in power since 1991, following 30 years of armed struggle that led to the country’s independence.

Based in Ethiopia, the opposition force, Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said the Eritrean dictator must leave now like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarek and Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi.

“We call on all oppressed and democracy thirsty Eritreans to immediately launch mass protests across nation,” RSADO leader Ibrahim Haron told Sudan Tribune on Monday in an interview in Semera, a town in the Afar region of Ethiopia near the border with Eritrea.

Haron vowed to push an armed attack from the border once the uprising began.
“The only option left to topple the authoritarian regime is by force, and we want to see an Egypt and Libya type uprising in Eritrea” Ibrahim said adding, “We call upon the armed forces of the country to join the uprising.’’

Eritrea is a one party state, without legally functioning political opposition to the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice.

Haron said the time was right for dictators like Afeworki to be removed.

“The time is now; we call on all ethnic groups and political forces to join hands together in the struggle to depose the dictatorial regime”.

He also called on the international community to put pressure on Afeworki to step down.

RSADO is one of the many opposition movements based in neighbouring Ethiopia. The rebel group is a member of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), a coalition of 11 Eritrean political groups.

Militarily RSADO is considered amongst the strongest of the exiled rebel forces. The group says it has killed and wounded hundreds of government soldiers in attacks inside Eritrea since early 2009. The Afar ethnic groups reside mainly in northern Ethiopia but also in neighbouring Eritrea and Djibouti.

Human rights groups say thousands of political prisoners remain detained in secret underground jails without charge. Tens of thousands of Eritreans from all walks of life have fled Eritrea to Ethiopia.

Afeworki, says his country has no opposition and has labelled political groups in Ethiopia as traitors of the independence struggle.

After 30 years of armed struggle Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1991 and subsequently held elections in 1993. Afeworki became president in those elections. Initial work to restructure the government failed and he has held the position ever since.

Since taking power Afeworki is accused of closing down the country’s only independent human rights organisation, stopped the work of independent aid and development agencies and imprisoned those who have spoken out against his power.

Elections were planned for 1997, but these did not happen and in 2008 Afeworki announced that elections would be postponed for 30 to 40 years at least as "they polarise society".

In Eritrea there is no independent press and all forms of media are controlled by the government. The movement of Eritrea’s citizens is restricted, as is religion and freedom of assembly. Since 2007 the Reporters without Borders’ world press freedom index has ranked Eritrea bottom of the list of all countries, with a rating worse than that of Iran and North Korea.

(ST)

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  • 1 March 2011 09:00, by richard

    Very funny ..... qqqqqqqqq

    Who do you think you are and who are you even to lend an ear to your opinion????

    You are just delusional and a mercenary puppet that do not know where you are heading. You are good at serving your master Meles Chenawi and you will be dealt with appropriate arm of the Shaebian army.

    RASDO or what ever you call yourself, just do whatever you can at your disposal - but rest assured - you will trashed just like we trashed your master time and again.

    Looser!!!!

    repondre message

  • 1 March 2011 09:57, by FreeAfrica

    Sudan tribune needs to stop giving space to terrorists. Terrorists use Sudan tribune for sending their message. I think from now on nobody will take this site as normaal site!!

    repondre message

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