Göppingen: In the name of the military dictatorship of Eritrea there shall be celebrated in the Werfthalle at the 22nd of November. – disguised as anniversary celebration of union of women. Critics of the regime have announced an anti-demonstration. – With a comment of Dirk Hülser.
A huge amount of the refugees coming overseas to Lampedusa, originate from Eritrea. The regime there wants know to celebrate in Göppingen. The picture above shows saved emigrants in the South Mediterranean Sea.
Stockholm, Oslo, Rotterdam, Kopenhagen, Rom, Göppingen: In altogether twelve cities the festival of the Eritrean military regime takes place. – officially presented by the ’YPFDJ Euro’. Behind this acronym stands the ’ Young peoples Front for Democracy and Justice’., the youth organization of the party, with almost the same name, of the north-African country.
The Marxist ’PFDJ’ emerged from the guerrilla-organisation EPLF, which in 1993 eked out the independence of Ethiopia. Since then the former head of the revolutionary movement, Isayas Afewerki, governs with an iron hand. Thousands of refugees have left the country. Moreover the regime is said to have given weapons to the Somali Al-Kaida-partner Al-
The fact that at the 22nd of November there takes place the festival in the Werfthalle of Göppingen, is the trigger for critics to act.
He himself ,up to 2001, has been a member in the EPLF and the resultant party, says Tesfai Tecle, ’But I don’t go such a way.’ The for 2001 planned elections had been canceled, private newspapers had been forbidden – for many Eritrean people the dream of freedom was destroyed. The 62 -years-old from Göppingen wants to actively do now something against it, when the so-called Biddho-tour VII stops in his hometown. Together with other Exile_Eritrean people he annunced an anti-demonstration. The festival shall be pure propaganda, says also the 55-years-old Lemlem Mohamed. She adds, ’Biddho signifies struggle.’
Since the day before yesterday there can be also find publicity on the internet on you tube of some musicians, singers or comedians who take part. There are expected between 1500 and 2000 visitors in Göppingen, the members of the anti-demonstration hope for at least 250 participants. But they will not enter the private Werfthalle.’They will never let us in, they would beat us.!, Mohamed is sure. ’For them we are all traitors!, adds Tecla. Instead, the critics want to demonstrate in freedom, says Mohamed. ’We are against violence and we want to stop it in our country’, emphasizes the 55-years-old Weldelassie Berhane.
The three Exile-Eritrean people tell that the celebration was organized by the Eritrean embassy. ’Many visitors go there under pressure’, thinks Mohamed. Fellow countrymen get visits at home and who does not want to participate will be forced to give money financing of the tour.
The police pays attention as well and knows about the festival and the anti-demonstration. The speaker Wolfgang Jürgens thought of a kind of folklore-festival.’Officially it is a celebration due to the 35 years existence of the Eritrean union of women.“, he says. But one can not find something about this neither on the internet or the flyer of the tour or the video. Just the abbreviation ’NUEW’, that can be find on the flyer behind the word ’Göppingen’, could lead to the union which does not appear at any other place. Two years ago there was a scandal happening in Gießen (Hesse), due to the fact that also here the Eritrean women union invited to a festival, behind which the critics of the regime and parts of the council assumed the military dictatorship.
Meanwhile the mayor of Göppingen Guido Till will not take part at the festival, he had been invited by the host. ’No, he will not go there.’, one of the speakers, Olaf Hinrichsen, announced yesterday. The owner of the Werfthalle, Johannes Krauter, was not available for a statement yesterday.
Political prisoners and no freedom of press
Arrest: Amnesty International writes: „Thousands are as political prisoners under arrest, often since a lot of years without any contact to their families or advocates, without accusation or any trials. A reason for imprisonment can be any kind of actual or probable criticism referring to the government. Who does not want to do the military service, risks to be arrested. Press: Eritrea ranks the last place on the list of press-freedom of reporters without borders, since the years 2007 and after North Korea. Warning considering travelling: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs advices in general not to travel to Eritrea, if it is not absolutely necessary. It warns: ’The Eritrean agencies do not inform foreign diplomatic and consular agencies about any arrests.’