Authorities have shut down two prominent hotels Addis Abeba, alleging that they have played "inciting music" following the withdrawal of federal troops from Tigray.

Harmony and Kaleb hotels on Djibouti Street, in the Bole Medhanialem area, were shut down on July 5, 2021, after local authorities alleged the two establishments had played music that could stir up emotional backlash and violence. Located next to one another on a street where there are eight hotels and over a dozen restaurants, the establishments may face potential legal action that could see them have their licenses revoked, according to officials at the Woreda 03 Trade Office of Bole District under the Addis Abeba City Administration.

“We temporarily have closed the two hotels after they played inciting music that celebrates the adversity of the country and humiliates the Ethiopian National Defense Force,” Philimon Gashaw, head of Woreda 03, told Fortune.

The hotels have been in the hospitality business for over a decade and currently employ around 300 people. Both buildings are six storeys and incorporate conference halls and ballrooms, swimming pool, business centres, gymnasiums, restaurants, and a day spa.

Getachew Dejene, head of security at Kaleb Hotel, named after a sixth-century King of Aksum, said the hotel's management is working with the Woreda Administration to clear things up.

Harmony Hotel, a property under Golagul Trading, was built at the cost of 104 million Br and opened for business in 2008. The Hotel saw a 400 million Br expansion project half a decade later, bringing the total number of rooms to 150. The family of the Girmay brothers, Yemane and Goitom, own the property, and Golagul Tower in the Haya Hulet area.

The managements of Harmony and Kaleb hotels declined to comment despite repeated efforts. The hotels remained closed up until Saturday, July 10, 2021.

Along with these two hotels, 72 other restaurants, bars, and nightclubs have also been temporarily closed "for several reasons", Philimon disclosed to Fortune.

The Trade Office has also been taking measures against businesses for "breaking the law" by serving hookah, failing to follow COVID-19 guidelines, providing services not covered under their licenses, and sound pollution. Several verbal warnings were given to the businesses before they were closed down, according to Philimon.

"Their closure is for an undefined period of time, and possibly even serious legal action that could cause them to lose their licenses," Philimon said. "They will face investigations."

PUBLISHED ON Jul 11,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1106]

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