Large demonstrations have taken place today in Toronto’s downtown major thoroughfares. Many demonstrators waving multicolored flags such as the Ogaden, the Oromia, and the Ethiopian flags held placards with messages highlighting Ethiopia’s poor human rights record and its genocidal policies have filled up the streets.

Three major down streets were blocked off for the sole use of the large number of demonstrators who numbered around 350. The demonstrators demonstrated first in front of the Canadian Broadcasting Center (CBC)’s head office. These demonstrators exhorted the CBC and its large pool of experienced reporters to uncover the ever deteriorating human rights situation in Ethiopia and in many parts of the Ogaden.

The demonstrators asked in unison why the CBC has not investigated the so-called ‘business investment’ meeting taking place at the Toronto’s storied Royal York Hotel, a few blocks from the CBC head offices. One demonstrator leaders Mr. Mohamed of the Ogaden community of Toronto simply summed up the feeling of the demonstrators.

He articulated that the ONLY investment opportunities available in Ethiopia are in the areas of prisons such as Jail Ogaden holding thousands of those detained without trials; in the business of forced relocations of both indigenous and non-indigenous people to make way for Chinese, and now Canadian, multi-national conglomerates; and in the area of building the pulpits for the perpetration of mass rape and mass killings amounting to genocide.

After making their message clear for the CBC to do its job and report on the motives, the backgrounds, and the objectives of the six Ethiopian elites meeting with the Canadian business investors, the demonstrators walked to the Royal York Hotel, the very place where the so-called business meeting was taking place.

While making their long and slow walk to the Royal York Hotel, the leaders of the demonstrators took turns in explaining with their loud speakers their reasons for the demonstration to the Canadian public in the Toronto downtown areas. Some demonstrators were also busy distributing pamphlets with the background and pictures of the three Ethiopian ministers from the foreign affairs and mines to the Irrigation and Energy and the three Chief Executives of the so-called private, but government owned businesses such as the Ethiopian Airlines.

Once the demonstrators reached the Front Street main entrance of the Royal York Hotel pandemonium ensued. Many demonstrators started shouting through the top of their lungs a very deafening noise with myriad messages from No Business Investment with Terrorists and Jail them, Not Host Them meaning the ministers and their entourage.

One large white banner hoisted by demonstrators with the Ogaden and Canadian flags attracted the attention of many passer byes. The message on the placard in large bold lettering said Canadian Funding = Ethiopian Genocide. The placard also had words such as Rape, Torture, Extrajudicial Killings and mass relocations deftly decorated on all sides of the main, aforementioned message.
The mobile loudspeakers deployed by the demonstrators coupled with quite articulate speakers had not only attracted large numbers of members of the Canadian public to the front gates of the Royal York Hotel, but it also made some of the security personnel of the Ethiopian ministers to peer through the windows of the Hotel to see for themselves what was taking places at the gates of the very place where they were trying to host the meeting.

Some demonstrators with a keen eye on detecting the unusual spotted this and some demonstrators almost crushed through the police cordon around the area to get to the gates of the Royal York Hotel. Once the police realized what was happening, they have convinced the demonstrators to remain calm and peaceful while they talked to the Hotel Security to make sure the Ethiopian entourage inside does not peer through the windows to avoid any further incitement.

Two individuals that were present in the meeting taking place inside the Royal York hotel and later interviewed by the Ogaden reporter Mr. Abdi Mirad Layli who himself was arrested as a result of his refusal to move away from the gates of the hotel had this to say about those peering through the hotel windows: “ The noise from the demonstrators being heard clearly from the conference room and with Some Canadian business leaders showing signs of uneasiness, the Ethiopian entourage tried to calm nerves by trying to peer through the windows and to say that there were few individuals with loud speakers…”

The insiders, those two present in the meeting taking place inside the Royal York hotel insisted on being called, indicated that the meeting itself was a fiasco as many of the would-be Canadian business executives invited have stayed away while the few who showed up kept asking how they could discuss investment in an unsettled environment such as Ethiopia.

The demonstrations while loud and boisterous were peaceful and concluded their successful demonstration at 1:30 PM long after the Ethiopian entourage has wrapped up its meetings and decided to stay inside the hotel rather than take a business tour in the downtown business district as was the plan prior to the demonstrators showing up at the gates of the Royal York Hotel.
ONA reporter

 

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