What You Need to Know: Starving For Justice & Oromo Yellow Movement

If you want to know what’s going on with #OromoProtests right now, you’ve come to the right place. Keep scrolling for an overview of the situation. But first, let’s share with you some resources for how to show support:

There are currently estimated to be well over 50,000 Oromo political prisoners languishing in prisons throughout Oromia, Ethiopia, including the capital city Addis Ababa/Finfinne. Every day the Ethiopian regime continues arresting, torturing, killing, raping, and harrassing innocent civilians.

Oromo political prisoners are #StarvingForJustice. FREE. THEM. ALL. pic.twitter.com/yrQFpmpgfX Click To Tweet the above video

These wrongfully imprisoned individuals include prominent political opposition leaders such as Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Abdi Regassa, Lammi Benya, Shemsuddin Taha, Col Gamachu Ayana, and many more… as well as journalists, lawyers, doctors, peaceful protestors, dissenters, and ordinary civilians.

Recently Oromos around the globe started an Oromo Yellow Movement Challenge to show solidarity with political prisoners, given the yellow color of the prison jumpsuits. On January 27, approximately 100 individuals were arrested for wearing yellow clothing in solidarity; they were released on January 30. Individuals wearing yellow clothing have continued to be stopped and harrassed by police since then. Some, like journalist Meseret Dhaba Kene, have even been re-arrested.

Since January 28 2021, Bekele Gerba, Jawar Mohammed, Hamza Borana, et al. have been on a hunger strike. Their demands:

  1. Release Oromo political prisoners
  2. Reopen Oromo political party offices and allow them to operate
  3. Allow Oromo political parties to participate in the election 
  4. End mistreatment of family when visiting those detained
I stand in solidarity with Oromo political prisoners. Dissent is not a crime. I support #OromoYellowMovement because until we're all free, none of us are free. I echo #StarvingForJustice calls to release all Oromo political prisoners. #OromoProtests Click To Tweet

On February 9, day 13 of the hunger strike, the prisoners have become very weak and ill. Several had to be rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

We ask you to stand with these Oromo political prisoners as they risk their lives standing against Abiy’s brutal regime. Raise awareness by tweeting with the hashtags: #OromoYellowMovement & #StarvingForJustice , as well as #OromoProtetsts. For additional resources on standing in solidarity with the hunger strike:

On February 10, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, et al. had their 14th day of the hunger strike at Kaliti Federal Prison. 

Later in the day, Jawar Mohammed’s doctors were summoned to Kaliti (they had been turned away from seeing the political prisoners earlier in the day).

As of February 12, Bekele Gerba is in critical condition and is in urgent need of medical attention. Prison administration denied Bekele Gerba’s & Jawar Mohammed’s doctors from visiting them or taking them to the hospital, even though the court had previously issued an order for Bekele Gerba and Jawar Mohammed to get treatment from their private hospital/doctors.

The situation remains dire. The Oromo political prisoners have been on a hunger strike since January 28 — that’s now 17 days. Can you imagine going hungry for 17 days? They remain critically ill, but they refuse to back down on their demands!

On Saturday February 13, Oromos across Oromia are having coordinated peaceful protests to stand in solidarity with Oromo political prisoners and show their support.

On Sunday February 14, the hunger strikers completed day 19. The lives of these Oromo political prisoners remain in grave danger. We must stand with them and urge the international community to pressure the government to release them…before it’s too late.

On February 17 the political prisoners went into day 22 of the hunger strike, surpassing Mahatma Gandhi’s longest-ever hunger strike (21 days).

On February 20, Ethiopian Ambassador to the US, Fitsum Arega put out a false statement that Oromo political prisoners had abandoned their hunger strike. This is dangerous and false disinformation. Here was the response from the Oromo Political Prisoners Defence Team:

As of February 24, 2021, the political prisoners have completed DAY 28 of the hunger strike. They remain critically ill, and need your help to raise awareness.

On February 24, we sent a joint letter with from dozens of other organizations, to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The letter is in regard to the dire situation of Oromo prisoners of conscience who are on hunger strike in Ethiopia. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.

On March 1, the Cassation Bench of Federal Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Federal Supreme Court regarding the medical treatment of prisoners of conscience including Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Hamza Borana and Dejene Tafa. The court ordered that they continue with their treatment at Landmark Hospital as previously ordered by the Federal High Court (and had previously denied by the Attorney General multiple times).

Early in the morning on March 2, Jawar, Bekele, Hamza, and Dejene were finally transferred to Landmark Hospital.

Despite the hospitalization, the political prisoners have NOT stopped their hunger strike. The hunger strike continued through Day 34, and into Day 35.

Stand in solidarity with Oromo prisoners of conscience & peaceful protestors! Click here to join our #StarvingForJustice Twitter campaign!

Additional resources/reading:

We will continue to update this page intermittently with updates.

*This post was last updated 15 Feb 2021, 12:00AM GMT

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