Addis Ababa- Ethiopia: During the midnight hours of 4th February 2020, in bole sub-city (special name -24 or “Seboqa”,) the Federal and Addis Ababa police clashed with Orthodox Christian youth after sub-city workers attempted to forcibly seize a piece of land (where a temporary church was constructed). The Police stated that they were involved in the process of curtailing land encroachment. This conflict resulted in the brutal killing of two Ethiopian Orthodox youths. The government has demolished the temporary church constructed on the vacant land. The authorities claim it was built without a permit, while the faithful claim the land was deemed to the Church in the past.
The sub city’s executive, Mr. Tilahun Fikadu informed Elias Meseret of the associated press that the clash was a drama staged by the orthodox youth. The place (where the temporary Church exists) is left open as a ‘green area’. The authorities tried to initiate a discussion with the Orthodox clergy and police at the Wereda level. However, they were unsatisfied with the lukewarm response from the Clergy. He also stated the youth demonstrators fired at the Police vehicle.
The deputy mayor of Addis Ababa on his twitter page stated that the discussion with archbishops, Addis Ababa dioceses authorities and Petrosawiyan (a unity of associations of youths, Sunday schools, theological college students, and clergy) were necessary, even if they decide to confiscate the land, it should be after discussing with the church authorities.
Several Orthodox Christians challenged the actions of the authorities by stating “why did they come in the midnight hours like criminals?” Elias Meseret of the Associated Press also reported that the executive of the sub-city responded that the police action during midnight was to minimize the conflict.
It is being reported that the Standing Synod has canceled its scheduled meeting and has sent its General Secretary Archbishop Abune Yoseph to look into the problems and that they had to restrain the Patriarch from going himself.
OCP News Service