Barely had the insurrection in Gondar subsided than Ethiopia’s government found itself facing other brushfires. Everywhere, the same resentment is being voiced over the stranglehold of Tigrays on government.
Only on July 17 did the Federal Police and Ethiopian army, employing tear gas and firing heavy weaponry, managed to crush an insurrection that began five days earlier in Gondar, at the cost of 20 dead, including nine soldiers.
The demonstrators attacked Tigray symbols in the region, burning buses operated by Selam which belongs to the conglomerate Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation ofTigray (EFFORT).
This organisation is linked to the ruling TPLF party, as well as two hotels and stores owned by Tigrayans.
The man behind the rising, colonel Demeke Zewdu, is a former member of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM).
He now heads the separatist movement Welkait Ahmara Identity Committee(ION 1431), and was arrested on July 15 on a murder charge. He is also suspected of having fomented an attempt to destabilize the government with the help of Eritrea [Note: For the regime in Ethiopia, Eritrea remains the bogeyman that gets the blame for every problem in the country, including drought].
Since then, however, other revolts have broken out in the Gondar region, as in the towns of Dabat, Debark and Sanja.
In the Shew region, where a strike by taxi drivers was put down violently, seven people were seriously wounded.
There were also anti-Tigrayan demonstrations in mid-July in Asebot (Oromia National Regional State) that were crushed by the Federal Police and army.
In both the Amhara and Oromo regions the security forces have justified their crackdown by saying they are fighting against ‘Eritrean terrorism’.
For their part, the demonstrators accuse Tigrayans of seizing their land via the Tigray National Regional State.
They are calling for a halt to a development plan for Addis Ababa and the special Oroma zone, known as the Addis Master Plan.
According to Bekele Gerba, number two man in the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the plan would increase the size of the current capital by 21 times.