Ethiopia declares State of Emergency for the second time

When Hailemariam Desalegn resigned as Ethiopian prime minister on Thursday following almost three years of deadly anti-government protests, he said he did it to be “part of the solution” to meet the public’s demands for “development, democracy and good governance”. The following day authoritarian regime struggling to contain the greatest threat to its authority since taking power in 1991 imposed a six-month state of emergency rather than reiterate its commitment to reform. Siraj Fegessa, the defence minister, said the goal of the SOE that would last for six months is to subdue “pockets of…

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Ethiopian PM resigning

Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalegn submitted his resignation letter.   The premier requested to be relieved both from the premiership of the country and the chairmanship of EPRDF, the coalition that ruled the country for the past 27 years. In an interview he gave at his office Mr. Dessalegn said that his resignation has been accepted by his party, the Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) and the EPRDF. The PM cited the current nationwide uprising that is rocking the country as the reason for his resignation. He hopes his resignation will…

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Bekele Garba and Six OFC leaders released from jail

Mr. Bekele Gaba and six other leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress have been released from prison today. Mr. Garba was thrown to jail in November 2015 right after the beginning of the second wave of Oromo protests which engulfed the whole region like wildfire. It seems the regime picked the calm and seasoned OFC leader in an attempt to make the movement leaderless. Regardless, the protests have continued to this day. It is to be remembered that Mr. Garba previously served a four year prison sentence on trumped up…

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Lelisa Desisa and Mamitu Daska win Bronz in New York City Marathon

Ethiopian Athletes won Bronze both in the men’s and women’s events of New York City marathon today. Lelisa Desisa finished third in the men’s race that featured plenty of drama, with Kamworor holding off countryman Wilson Kipsang by just three seconds in a mad dash to the finish, earning his first win in the process. Kamworor came in with a time of 2:10:53, followed by Kipsang in second place and Lelisa Desisa coming in third with a time of 2:11:32. Desisa has won Boston marathon on two occasions, in 2013 and 2015. Meb Kiflehzighi of…

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Rally to Commemorate the Victims of the 2016 Irreechaa Massacre & Protest against Violence and Political Repression

This year, while celebrating the?Irreecha?festival, Oromo communities in the Diaspora will commemorate those who were murdered in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016 by the Ethiopian government forces and the conditions they created to victimize innocent people. Irreecha is an ancient Oromo cultural tradition which survived many years of repression, and continues to flourish. It is observed in late September and early October annually at the historic Lake (Hora) Arsadi near the town of Bishoftu, about 25 miles south of Finfinee (Addis Ababa). In recent years three to five million people…

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Transfer of OCO Leadership

Through an election process that was fully transparent, democratic and peaceful, the Oromo Community Organization of the Washington DC metropolitan area carried out a peaceful transition of power on June 24, 2016. The 9-member Board of Directors convened at the Oromo House to elect from among themselves leaders who would serve in the positions of President, Vice President, Executive Director, Executive Secretary and Executive member for a two-year term. Prior to the intra-committee elections to replace outgoing members of the Board, the General Assembly elected 5 leaders to be added…

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OCO Requests Language Access for District?s Oromo Residents

Washington DC?The President of the Board of the Oromo Community of Washington DC, Dr. Desta Yebessa was among 75 witnesses who testified in support of At-Large DC Council Member Grosso?s Bill to expand language access to residents at a public hearing jointly convened by council members David Grosso, Kenyan McDuffie and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on ?Language Access for Education Amendment Act of 2015.?The act was introduced by Council member Grosso on February 3, 2015. Reflecting on the purpose of the hearing, David Steib, Eqs., Director of Language Access ,…

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OCO President Testified in front of the Council of the District of Columbia

Dr. Desta Yebassa, OCO Board President and Project Manager, testified in front of the Council of the District of Columbia, chaired by Ms. Anita Bonds on May 6, 2015. The Oromo Community Organization of Washington DC joined numerous community and non-profit organizations in advocating for increases in funding for their own organizations as well as for the Mayor?s Office on African Affairs, which has helped provide grants to qualifying non-profit organizations over the years. OCO President explained to the Council that the Oromo make up ?over 40% of Ethiopia?s total…

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DC Budget Cut & Financial Concerns by Community Organizations

In their testimonies, the President of OCO and leaders of many other non-profits expressed their concern that drastic budget cuts by the District of Columbia government will negatively affect their ability to provide social services to the communities they serve. Witnesses representing the African communities in and around the Washington DC metropolitan area pointed out the disparity in budget allocated to the Office on African Affairs, which they said receives the smallest fund ($100,000) compared to other agencies serving Asian or Latino populations, for instance. This is despite OAA?s representation…

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Feyisa Lilesa wins New York City half marathon

Feyisa Lilesa won?the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon in New York City on Sunday March 19 2017. Lilesa?s time of 1:00:04 was the fifth fastest in event history and fastest in the last five years. The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist was challenged heavily by Great Britain?s Callum Hawkins, who came second in 1:00:08, and fellow Ethiopian Teshome Mekonnen, who was third in 1:00:28. Feyisa outsprinted both challengers down the final stretch toward Wall Street, taking his first win in 2017 after finishing second at January?s Houston Half Marathon in…

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