After recent reports of widespread violent demonstrations in Addis-Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia, local church leaders and members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) joined in a call for peaceful dialogue and restraint on all sides.
“We mourn the lives of those who perished during these protests, and regret the arrests and violence against protesters that have occurred during the demonstrations in different areas of the country,” said Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.
“We appeal to law enforcement officers not to resort to excessive force on unarmed civilians, and encourage protesters to look for open dialogue.”
Prove urged the ecumenical family to pray for the people of Ethiopia. “We pray that all sides join hands for a better future based on social justice and human dignity,” he said.
Reports indicate more than 100 protestors were killed in Oromia and Amhara during the last two weeks alone, and local church leaders said the situation is still quite tense as demonstrators continue to clash with security forces. The violence comes on the heels of months of unrest in the western and northern parts of the country.
The general manager of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Dioskoros, has also spoken publicly about the crisis, urging all parties to resolve their differences with dialogue and restrain from using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators.
The Catholic bishops of Ethiopia also issued a statement calling for peaceful dialogue, which read, in part:
“Our dear young children, we wish that you take over from us a developed and peaceful Ethiopia, not a country that is full of unrest. We urge you to remember that you have the duty and the right to take over a country that is full of peace and hope for development so you must work for this.”