Oromo Schoolchildren Protesting Against the Addis Ababa Master Plan Met with Federal Police’s Violence in Chancho
Parents and residents of Chancho, a small town in Central Oromiyaa, returned to their children’s elementary school on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, to sort through the aftermath of the Ethiopian Federal Police’s, known as Agazi and part of the elite force of the ruling Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), violent response when Oromo young students of an elementary school in Chancho (Sululta) protested against the Addis Ababa Master Plan on Wednesday, December 2, 2015. The following are photos from the incident.
Chancho, as a whole the Sululta region, is one of the areas slated for takeover by the City of Addis Ababa through its new Master Plan. In addition to Chancho/Sululta, the Master Plan has an objective to take over more than 30 towns, and their neighboring rural areas, around the City of Addis Ababa and put them under the City’s administration; currently, these towns are thriving in the Federal State of Oromiyaa. As part of the takeover by the City of Addis Ababa, the Master Plan also intends to “urbanize” the region by evicting millions of Oromo farmers, who now live on family-owned farms. Since Addis Ababa is culturally and linguistically different from the Oromiyaa region surrounding it, the Oromo people take the “urbanization” project of the Addis Ababa Master Plan as a way of de-Oromonizing the region culturally and linguistically. For this reason – everyone, including young students and their siblings in higher educational institutions – and their parents – bitterly oppose the Addis Ababa Master Plan, on top of their opposition to losing their ancestral land. In history, one is reminded about the bitter opposition the Apartheid linguistic policy was met in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976, when Black high-school students rallied against the Apartheid regime’s plan to displace their mother-tongue (indigenous language) and only teach in the regime’s preferred Afrikaans; many young South Africans died on that fateful day for protesting against the undemocratic policy.