Eritreans living abroad have staged protests decrying the human rights situation back home. The protests held on Friday were originally planned for Washington, London and Stockholm. It comes in the wake of Tuesday’s rare protest in the streets of the capital Asmara against the government.
Security forces used gunfire to disperse students who reportedly demanded the release of a school head detained for resisting state interference in running an Islamic community-funded school.
Photos shared on social media, however, showed protesters in London, scores of who gathered outside the Eritrean embassy to register their concerns. In Stockholm, protesters chose the front of the Swedish parliament to stage their protests. About 100 people with banners and photos of prominent religious leaders took part in the action.
The government through its information minister, Yemane Ghebre Meskel, has categorically denied that there were any deaths during the ‘small demonstration’ is Asmara. Arrests were made in the wake of the protest even though normalcy is said to have returned to Asmara.
Eritrea blames some media personnel and people they say have links with neighbouring Ethiopia in stoking tensions and blowing matters out of proportion. The country is known for its clampdown on human and press rights.
It does not have a functional constitution since attaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993. President Isaias Afwerki is its only political leader since independence; elections were planned almost two decades ago but were never held.