Police stop press conference of Eskinder Nega and his Council organizer at Ras Hotel.

Addis Ababa, March 30, 2019 (GMN) - Ethiopian government is resorting to forceful measures in connection with the issue of Addis Ababa. Police on Saturday dispersed press conference which was planned to take place at Ras Hotel.

Eskinder Nega and his Baladera Council, a council formed to follow up and organize on the issue of Addis Ababa opposing alleged move to alter Ethiopia’s most multicultural city social and cultural identity, among other things, in the interest of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ethnic party, Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), which recently claimed ethnic Oromo ownership of Addis Ababa.

The advocacy group opposes the current city administration under Mayor Takele Uma, his critics describe him as an ardent Oromo ethno-nationalist and a central committee member of ODP, on grounds that he was appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration unlawfully. The city bylaws stipulate that Mayor of the city could only be elected from among members of Addis Ababa City Council. Takele Uma’s administration is also accused of unlawful and fraudulent move to change the social composition of Addis Ababa in what critics say is part of a project to change the demography of Ethiopia’s capital in favor of ethnic Oromo.

According to a report by DW Amharic, journalists from different media agencies were at Ras Hotel starting 9:30 a.m. local time to cover Baladera Council but were told by police on site that the press conference by Eskinder Nega is not allowed. Police did not explain why the press conference is banned expect telling journalists and participants of the press conference that “it is an order from higher government authority.”

Attempt to communicate with invited guests and journalists at Ras Hotel entrance was also prohibited by police.

In his recent press conference, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed talked about his view regarding the position of Addis Ababa, which sounds a bit murky and contradictory to the position that his ethnic Oromo party has. He also warned that his government will take action against what he called illegal activity to challenge government authority.