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Ethiopians rally for fight as Tigray rebels threaten to overrun capital

This picture shows a huge crowd cheering as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gives a speech during the inauguration ceremony of the new government, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 04, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have marched in the capital city Addis Ababa in what appeared to be a government-organized rally to shore up support for the military against the rebels in the north.

Gathering in Addis Ababa's Meskel Square on Sunday, the protesters vowed to defend the country against a newly-formed alliance led by the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

They chanted slogans against the pro-TPLF rebels as well as foreign interference in the internal affairs of Ethiopia.

The demonstrators also expressed readiness to pay the utmost sacrifices to protect the sovereignty and unity of Ethiopia by fighting the TPLF rebels and their allies, according to ENA.

Similar rallies have been staged across the country for the past few days.

Meanwhile, the Tigrayans announced on Friday that they had joined together with other opposition groups to oust Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a year after his government launched an offensive in the Tigray region that triggered a devastating conflict.

The newly-formed alliance declared it aimed to bring down Abiy by force or through negotiations and install a transitional government.

“We are left with one option — changing the situation; otherwise, we’ll all be massacred,” said Berhane Gebre-Christos, speaking for the Tigrayan rebel group at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.

Berhane, who formerly served as Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 2010 to 2012, warned the conflict needed to be resolved “before Ethiopia implodes and affects the region.”

He was joined by representatives from the other groups in the TPLF alliance.

However, Ethiopia’s attorney general and justice minister, Gedion Timothewos, dismissed the formation of the TPLF alliance as a “publicity stunt.” He claimed that some of the groups mentioned in the TPLF alliance had no clout.

For decades, TPLF had been running Ethiopian politics before Abiy took the helm in 2018, declaring war on the group.

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