By Sophia Tesfamariam
Washington DC tourists from across the United States and many more from places such as China, Germany, Japan, India and Ukraine were treated to a spectacular show of unity, dignity and pride when thousands of Eritreans rallied in front of the White House on 25 May 2012. The manifestation was part of the week long celebrations in commemoration of Eritrea’s 21st Independence Anniversary on 24 May 2012, and thousands took part in the colorful and festive event.
They marched and chanted in unison, “Obama where’s the change”, “No evidence, No sanctions”, “Peace Yes, War No”, “End the Ethiopian occupation”, “Long live Eritrea” and more. They called on the Obama Administration to stand up for justice and the rule of law and to change its policies in the Horn of Africa. They called for an end to the decade long US backed Ethiopian occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme. They called for respect for international law and the final and binding ruling of the independent Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions of 13 April 2002 and 30 November 2007 respectively.
The Eritrean flag was everywhere, hoisted high on wooden poles, on hats, on clothing, on bandannas, on scarfs etc. etc. Eritrean youth walked through the crowds distributing pamphlets and explained their mission to the curious passersby. From providing details about the illegal, unjust and unfair sanctions imposed against the State of Eritrea and its people, to providing information about Eritrea’s location and history, they captured the attention of the on lookers. The tourists took hundreds of pictures and videos of the magnificent display and orderly parade of enthusiastic Eritreans.
After a two hour rally in front of the White House, men and women, young and old, draped in colorful traditional Eritrean attire, braved the scorching Washington heat to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the US Capitol where excited drivers honked their horns in support. The spectators took pictures of the demonstrators and many peaked out of their offices along the Avenue to cheer them on.
At the US capitol, tourists stood for hours watching as the dance, poetry and music flowed across the Reflecting Pool. Some joined in the dancing and many took pictures and videos, spectacular mementos of their visit to Washington.
The Independence Day celebrations will continue with a picnic at the historic Fort Hunt Park in Alexandria, VA and a Grand gala at the Convention Center in the heart of Washington, DC on Sunday 27 May 2012.
Eternal Glory to Eritrea’s beloved Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Eritrea’s freedom
Victory to the gallant people of Eritrea!