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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2005 > November
Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 2, 2005


Ethiopia: Arrest of Opposition Leaders

We call on all parties to immediately show restraint to step back from the current environment of heightened political tension and call on the Ethiopian government to establish an independent commission to investigate today’s public demonstrations and those of June 8 in which dozens of demonstrators were killed. We deplore the use of violence and deliberate attempts to invoke violence in a misguided attempt to resolve political differences. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the senseless violence.

We call on the Ethiopian government to release all political detainees, including the many opposition supporters arrested in recent weeks. Senior opposition leaders arrested today should be treated humanely and, if charged, assured of a just and timely trial before an impartial court of law.

We call on the opposition to refrain from inciting civil disobedience during this time of heightened tension. While the ability to protest peacefully is a legitimate right in a democracy, violent demonstrations pose a substantial threat to public safety and do nothing to advance democracy. The United States believes that the way best forward for Ethiopia is through full participation of all political groups in the democratic process, including for elected members of the opposition to take their seats in Parliament and to assume the administration of the city of Addis Ababa.

2005/1006

Released on November 2, 2005

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