Free All Prisoners of Conscience Social Media Campaign Trending in Ethiopia

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This Wednesday activist based in Ethiopia launched a one-day social media campaign demanding the release of all political prisoners in Ethiopia. The campaign main goal was to bring awareness and attention to political prisoners in Ethiopia in which most of them were charged under the controversial anti-terrorism law.

The campaign organizers listed four possible ways of taking part in the social media campaign that involves

  • Sharing the story of political prisoners
  • Updating one’s own profile pictures to political prisoners’ photo
  • Creating awareness about the condition of political prisoners and supporting their families
  • Reminding political prisoners that they are not forgotten

Even though the campaign was not the first of its kind it was unique in recognizing women political prisoners. For this reason, the campaign had two profile images portraying both men and women political prisoners. Also, in his one-minute read post activist and blogger Befeqadu Hailu shared the story of 5 women political prisoners.

A social media post by  Menbere Kassaye shares the names of 570 political prisoners who are journalists, religious leaders, community organizers, and politicians. According to Menbere Kassaye post, the list doesn’t reflect the exact number of political prisoners in Ethiopia but only shares those whose name and profile is known to the public.

The campaign took place amid one of the worst security crisis in the country history which has led to the largest internal displacement along with the deaths of several civilians. The ruling party EPRDF is already in session behind closed doors for days in what will be the most defining moment for the country as well as the party.

Despite the government willingness to renegotiate the Anti-Terrorism Law with 11-party opposition negotiation coalition.The social media campaign is expected to resume in the coming days as more people are joining the campaign by updating their profile picture, resharing, retweeting and posting.

 

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