Changes in Ethiopia spark celebrations in Canada

Posted by Tessa on Wednesday 8th August 2018

Last Friday (August 3), hundreds of Ethiopians and Eritreans came together in Ottawa to celebrate. They wanted to express support for recent changes in Ethiopia, and in particular to celebrate the nascent peace blossoming between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, came into power on 2 April 2018 and has already made an impact at home and abroad – including in Canada. 

The Ottawa event’s organizer, Alem Legesse, said that the event was not affiliated with any political organization or party, but instead aimed to celebrate how Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister “has electrified his people with a message of love, forgiveness and unity.” Unprecedented numbers of Ethiopian and Eritrean community members came together in “a symbolic message of peace and friendship.”

The rally started under the Human Rights Monument at Mandela Square, ending on Parliament Hill. In a positive and non-partisan presentation, the event showed support for unity, democracy, and human rights. Supporters sang, chanted, and waved Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Canadian flags.

Prime Minister Abiy is credited with initiating peace with Eritrea in a joint agreement signed on the 9th of July (Al Jazeera, The Guardian). His other actions have included lifting a state of emergency, firing controversial civil servants, lifting media bans, ordering partial privatization of massive state-owned companies, and freeing thousands of political prisoners. In recent months Abiy has also addressed the widespread issue of torture in security institutions, firing the head of the prison service and ordering the closure of the notorious Maekelawi prison (BBC).

For Ethiopiaid Canada, the lifting of the state of emergency makes it easier for travel to and in Ethiopia, meaning we are better able to perform crucial monitoring and evaluation work. We are also in contact with our partners to understand how each of these changes may impact our ongoing work.

Ethiopiaid Canada are not affiliated to any political party or organization. We continue to monitor the situation and the impacts for our work and partners.

« back to blog