Ethiopia is facing a violent protest in the Amhara regional capital Gonder over the question of identity of the Welkait and Tegede people. So far six civilians and four police officer reportedly killed.
Like the Oromo protests that rocked the Oromia region few months ago while resulting the killing of over 400 protesters, the Amhara protests that just broke out today in Gonder also involves state appropriation of land. It is about annexation and the forceful imposition of Tigre identity up on the Amhara people of Welkait, Tegede, Telemt and Armachiho.
Twenty five years ago, when the government led by the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF) introduced a federal system of administration in the country based on language, the people of Welkait and Tegede, who are predominantly Amhara and speaks Amharic, have been forced to be administered under the Tigrai regional authority despite their strong objection.
A committee that was set up since to advance the voice of these Amhara people had pleaded the government all along to respect their Amhara identity as well as return their annexed land back under the Amhara regional government. But, all their efforts were in vain.
Inspired by the recent Oromo uprising, the question of Amhara identity raised by the people of Welkait, Tegede and Telemt become a sensitive and urgent matter among the entire Amhara population.
The ongoing protest in Gonder, however, started after Tigray regional police attempted to arrest the lead member of the Amhara identity committee member, Col. Demeke Zewdu, disguised as federal police.
Hundreds of Amhara protesters then went to the streets in protest, chanting an end to Tigray annexation of Amhara land as well as an end to a minority Tigre rule in Ethiopia.
The protesters resisted the arrest of their leader by blocking all roads leading to Col. Demeke Zewdu’s residence and when resisted by armed police, they start attacking vehicles and businesses that are affiliated to the ruling TPLF.
As always, the paranoid regime start blaming Eritrea for the violent protest.