GENEVA – Some 5,000 Eritreans from around Europe rallied on Monday in front of the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva to protest against UN Security Council sanctions on Eritrea, police said.
The demonstrators waved Eritrean flags and carried banners such as “No to sanctions based on lies,” and “Eritrea will never go on its knees”.
The Security Council in December voted for an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against Eritrea, which has been accused of trying to destabilize the Western-backed government in neighbouring Somalia.
One of the organizers of the rally in Geneva, who declined to be named, told AFP that members of the Eritrean diaspora had travelled to the Swiss city from 14 European nations.
A spokesman from police in Geneva said about 5,000 people took part in the protest, which passed off peacefully.
Other demonstrations were staged in the Australian capital Canberra and in San Francisco, while the Eritrean community gathered in Saudi Arabia, according to an Eritrean government website.
Asmara has condemned the sanctions decision, which includes a travel ban on senior officials, as “a shameful day” for the United Nations.
The Security Council accused Eritrean leaders of aiding Somali rebels and pressed Asmara to withdraw troops immediately from disputed territories along its frontier with Djibouti.
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Eritrean nationals from all over Europe stage
demonstration in Geneva denouncing vicious US sanctions resolution
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.
Eritrean citizens in Australia and New Zealand stage extensive demonstration
demonstration denouncing unjust US sanctions resolution
Asmara, 22 February 2010 – Thousands of Eritrean nationals residing in Australia and New Zealand staged extensive demonstration today in Canberra city denouncing the shameful and unjust US sanctions resolution adopted in the name of the Security Council against Eritrea.
In the 9-hour long demonstration, the participants chanting various slogans condemning the vicious resolution began the rally around the Australian Parliament and then headed to the country’s Foreign Ministry, the UN Office, the European Union Office and the US Embassy. Various media outlets gave extensive coverage to the demonstration.
The demonstrators from all walks of life ranging from children to elderly persons chanted slogans highlighting the unity of the people and Government of Eritrea and conveyed a message of condemnation and petition signed by thousands of Eritreans and foreign friends of Eritrea to officials of the Australian Federal Government.
Besides, the participants marched to the UN Office and submitted a letter and supporting documents to the Director of the Office emphasizing that the vicious sanctions resolution is denounced by the Eritrean people and all peace-loving parties.
Later on, the organizers of the demonstration held talks with the Director of the Australian Foreign Ministry, as well as the EU Country Representative in Australia, during which they submitted a letter condemning the sanctions resolution and a petition comprising signatures by the participants of the demonstration.
The demonstrators subsequently marched to the US Embassy chanting various slogans, including “As Ever, Solidarity with our Government,” “Priority as Ever to National Security,” “Let’s Annul the Unjust Sanctions Resolution through Resolute Rebuff,” among others. Members of the coordinating committee of the Mekete (Resolute Rebuff) held talks with the Secretary for Political Affairs in the US Embassy. The demonstration highlighting the voice of truth and justice was thus concluded.
San Francisco city: Eritrean citizens stage extensive demonstration
Asmara, 22 February 2010 – Tens of thousands of Eritrean nationals today staged extensive demonstration in San Francisco city, USA, expressing anger and condemnation over the shameful and unjust US sanctions resolution against Eritrea, besides strengthening the national resolute rebuff.
The participants who took part in the demonstration from various cities by traveling long hours chanted slogans denouncing the vicious resolution calling for its annulment.
The demonstration that attracted the attention and coverage of a number of media outlets highlighted the resolute rebuff of the Eritrean people to enemy conspiracies.
Stating that the Eritrean people would never succumb to external hostilities but on the contrary reinforce their unity, the participants asserted that they would fulfill all that is expected of them.
The nationals who took active participation in the demonstration through meeting all challenges, including withstanding sever weather conditions transformed the main streets of the city into “Eritrea Square” for hours raising high the Eritrean flag, according to reports.
Moreover, they expressed strong conviction that Eritrea would keep on marching along the course of progress and prosperity on the basis of independent path, as well as reinforcing national unity and rebuffing enemy conspiracy.
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.”