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Hundreds of Eritreans have launched protests against UN sanctions on their country in co-ordinated rallies in Australia, Switzerland and the US.

UK-based Eritreans told the BBC that the sanctions were illegal and an insult to their nation.

Government critics accused Eritrean officials of coercing people to take part in the demonstrations.

The UN says Eritrea backs Islamist rebels in neighbouring Somalia – claims the government denies.

The sanctions, imposed in December, came after intensive lobbying by Eritrea’s neighbouring countries and regional blocs including the African Union.

The resolution places an arms embargo on Eritrea, and also imposes travel bans and asset freezes on businesses and senior government officials.Crowds of Eritreans gathered on the streets of the Australian capital Canberra to demand an end to the measures.

A demonstrator on his way to the Geneva rally told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that the sanctions were hitting normal Eritreans.

“They say they are targeting our leadership. We have put our effort, our time, our blood to bring this government and president our support. So if they target him, they are targeting our people,” he said.

But Eritrean rights worker Selam Kidane said the government had been using “coercion and emotional blackmail” to get people to demonstrate.

“Many people have been told they would not be considered Eritrean if they did not take part,” she said.

“This is the government of Eritrea orchestrating things to ensure that it still has popular support.”

Eritrea has long been accused of meddling in the affairs of its neighbours, upsetting the balance of power in the volatile Horn of Africa region.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a full-scale war over their border from 1998 to 2000 – a conflict that led to some 80,000 deaths.

Source: BBC News

Eritrean nationals from all over Europe stage

demonstration in Geneva denouncing vicious US sanctions resolution

Shabait.com – NEWS

Asmara, 22 February 2010- Hundreds of thousands of Eritrean nationals in different parts of the world today staged extensive demonstrations denouncing the unfounded and vicious US-engineered sanction resolution against Eritrea.

The demonstrations in which Eritrean citizens demonstrated active participation was staged in Washington D.C. and San Francisco in the USA, Geneva at the European level, and in Canberra city, Australia. The participants emphasized that the resolution adopted in the name of the Security Council is both unjustifiable and vicious, and that it would be foiled through strong resolute rebuff of the Eritrean people inside the country and abroad.

The demonstration in Geneva in which tens of thousands of Eritreans from all over Europe and foreign friends of Eritrea took part was transmitted live via ERI-TV and Dimtsi-Hafash. The participants said that the demonstration laid bare the conspiracy of the Washington Administration and its servants, and that such a ploy would end up in utter failure.

Media outlets around the globe gave extensive coverage to the demonstrations and that a number of Eritrean youths from different parts of Europe acting as journalists compiled reports about the event which they sent to various websites.

Assembling in front of the UN Office in Geneva, the participants of the demonstration chanted slogans in various languages denouncing the shameful sanctions resolution, and that messages of solidarity from Eritrean communities and community friends were conveyed. They also submitted petition representing over 100,000 signatories to pertinent UN officials.

The participants further indicated that the demonstration that was staged within a day around the world fully attests to failure of the unjust and illegal Resolution 1907 from the very day of its inception. Moreover, they asserted their readiness to reinforce their unity and strengthen the national resolute rebuff.

Eritrean artists presented cultural performances, thus adding impetus to the worldwide demonstration.