Latest News — October 23, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Faces Protests After Activist’s Late-Night Standoff

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At least 400 young men joined the protest at Jawar's house in the capital Addis Ababa while some two dozen police officers stood nearby [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]
At least 400 young men joined the protest at Jawar’s house in the capital Addis Ababa while some two dozen police officers stood nearby [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]

Protesters in eastern Ethiopia have burnt copies of a new book by prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed in a show of solidarity with an opposition media activist.
Jawar Mohammed had said the government was removing security from his home in the capital, which officials denied.

This triggered protests outside his compound and elsewhere in the country.

Despite being praised for his reforms the prime minister has struggled to contain growing ethnic rivalries.

The police have disputed that security was withdrawn, but Mr Jawar’s statement fuelled some frustrations with the government.

In the capital, Addis Ababa, supporters offered to act as Mr Jawar’s security detail and protesters were heard shouting: “Down, down, Abiy.” The book burning took place in the town of Dadar.

Many young Oromo men consider Jawar a hero who brought the political change they fought for[Tiksa Negeri [Reuters]
Many young Oromo men consider Jawar a hero who brought the political change they fought for[Tiksa Negeri [Reuters]
 
Copies of Mr Abiy’s book, Medemer, which was published on Saturday, have been distributed across the country. It focuses on the prime minister’s political philosophy as well as his vision for Ethiopia.

Huge following

Mr Jawar used his media platform, Oromo Media Network (OMN), to report on the 2016-18 wave of anti-government protests under the previous Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

During those protests OMN gained a huge following among people in the Oromo community, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, who have felt politically and economically marginalised.

At that time the Ethiopian-born journalist was based in the US, where he is a citizen.

But he returned to Ethiopia after Mr Abiy took power in April last year and started introducing reforms.

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