Press statement from Tigrayan Nationalist Political Parties

It has been days since, we the undersigned political parties (Salsay Weyane Tigray, Tigray Independence Party, National Congress of Great Tigray (Baitona)) of Tigray, called for peaceful public demonstration entitled as “Covenant for Radical Change” planned to be held at Mekelle Romant Square on September 7, 2023. The themes of the demonstration were addressing the exigent public demands on justice, security, human rights, humanitarian aid, etc. As usual, however, the TPLF-led security apparatus its Interim Administration started its oppressive acts and propagandas since the eve of the planed demonstration propagating that the demonstration will not be held invoking an ill-fated reason that the administration does not have adequate security forces to protect the event. To the reverse and with a view of halting the peaceful demonstration and terrifying the public, the regime deployed an enormous security forces to Mekelle including thousands of military combatants, almost all police force of the region, and local security forces which were dispatched to every inch of the City.

It continues to arrest campaigners, party leadership, and supporters since September 5, 2023. On the morning of the demonstration day, security forces violently arrested most of the top leaderships of the political parties including those who were detained and released the previous day. Such unlawful and violent acts of the security forces continue in different rounds until it culminated with the brutal police violence against peaceful demonstrators happened around 10 AM of September 7, 2023. On this incident, 50 leaderships of the political parties and party members, around 100 supporters, women and journalists were arrested where many of them are beaten and sustained serious body injuries. Yet, the whereabouts of some protesters particularly top leaders of the parties is not yet known.

Annoyingly, those who sustained grave injuries are not allowed to get medical service and are left with their pains in the detention centers. It is true that the cruelty of the police acts are already reported by local and international media outlets which, in fact, condemning the infamous authoritarian TPLF regime and its security apparatus.

We, the three political parties, hereby demand;

1. The Immediate release all the political detainees and peaceful demonstrators;
2. The whereabouts of the detainees including top leadership of the opposition parties  and the specific location of the detention center  to be public;
3. Provide or allow for the provision of medical services for those who sustained injuries by the brutal acts of the security forces;
4. The full protection and realization of the constitutional right to be visited by family members, relatives, lawyers, etc of those detainees; and
5. Adequate investigation and prosecution of those who ordered the brutal acts which inflicted serious injuries to the party members and peaceful demonstrators.

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