Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto (Ogaden Online)

Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto
Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto
A crowd of Ethiopian Canadians estimated between four and five hundred protesters blockaded in front of the Chestnut Student Residence and Conference Center in downtown Toronto. The protesters who represented all the Ethiopian communities have obtained a permit to protest in the only entrance of the University of Toronto’s student residence.

The large crowd appeared very well organized. It had slogans in Amharic, Somali, Oromo, and English languages that the protesters sang together. It appeared as if these protesters have been practising their multilingual slogans for a while since they all sang together in unison in every language without making the slightest linguistic mistake.

One of the slogans that elicited the most cheers from all the protesters was that of ‘Xaar Wayaano.’ The slogan which means ‘Woyane Excrement’ is a derogatory term that the Ogaden Somalis use to refer to those who support the current Woyane regime in Addis Ababa.The protesters with their multilingual slogans, multi-colored flags, loud speakers, and sound amplifiers appeared very well organized and interacted with the contingent of Toronto police officers that were keeping the peace. On the other hand, the organizers of the meeting itself were quite visibly disoriented and disorganized. They appeared to have not
anticipated the large crowd of protesters at all.
Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto
Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto

They all also appeared exacerbated by the Toronto police officers’ insistence that the protesters remain in front of the only entrance of the conference center where the meeting were to be held. At one time a representative of the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa implored the Toronto police officers to escort many of the would-be meeting attendees some of whom have decided to leave instead of going through the large crowd.

The Toronto police officers have finally convinced the large crowd to open two narrow laneways where would-be attendees of the meeting could pass through. Although the crowd opened the passage way, but, by then, the management of the University student residence and conference center decided to bar many of the would-be meeting attendees from entering the
conference center.

Members of the Ethiopian protesters who succeeded in entering the meeting venue have texted the crowd that there has been a scuffle inside the meeting room. When the University security were called in, they have informed the meeting organizers they could not tell who was for and against the meeting since all those who were present in the meeting were vetted at the front door by the very individuals who called security in the first place.

Instead of engaging the desperate meeting organizers, the head of theUniversity conference center have informed both campus and Toronto police at the front door that they should allow no one into the conference room. The large crowd cheered wildly any time, and every time, a would-be meeting attendee was turned away from entering the meeting venue.
Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto
Ethiopians of all Stripes Wage Protests in Toronto

While many would-be attendees were turned away, the most notable was an individual by the name Mohamud Qalinle Kaahiin better known locally as ‘Quule’ who was a day earlier heard bragging about the fact that he had organized the very meeting that he was turned away from.
Also turned away from the meeting were so-called prominent members of the Oromo and Harar communities who brag about their alliance and allegiance with the Woyane regime in Addis Ababa. Many could not believe the fact that they could not enter the meeting venue. Some begged the police officers to let them in to no avail.

Around 5:00 pm local time, the protest organizers called in speakers from the Amhara, Oromo, and Ogaden Somali communities to give speeches. All the speakers emphasized the united voice of all those who were present in the protest.

Having listened to the passionate speeches of the protest leaders, an old man who could barely walk approached one of our reporters to intimate, in Amharic, his giddiness in seeing Ethiopians of all stripes coming together to oppose the regime in Addis Ababa in one voice.

He said while Ethiopians of all stripes now see the Ethiopian premier’s trickery in creating what he called ‘ethnic-based federalism,’ he is quite happy that all those who oppose the Woyane regime have realized the value of unity of purpose in pooling their resources to oppose the Woyane domination of Ethiopia.

The protest peacefully concluded at 6:00 PM while the meeting was cut short and many of the attendees left through a backdoor exit at around 5:30 PM.

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