Hawassa Hit by Three-day Strike

March 14 , 2019

Businesses, public offices and schools closed doors in Hawassa, the seat of southern egional state, following the three-day strike called by a group of people, who calls for Sidama State.

Since in the morning, all of the businesses, institutions and schools were made to shut doors by the group of people who self-describe themselves "Ejitto". For the past couple of months, people from the Sidama Zone have been requesting statehood.

"In most parts of the city, there is no movement and activity," said a resident in Hawassa.

Vehicles which were found moving in the city and operational businesses were attacked by the group who were moving by motor bicycles, according to eyewitnesses.

Called through social media, the strike will last until Friday.

"Even though the strike is started today, the movement began since last Friday," said another resident. "Schools were made to be closed since last weekend."

The region's police and members of the national defence are trying to control the situation, but the town remains quite since in the morning.

"You barely see people moving in the city," said a resident, "we're in panic contemplating what would happen next."

Since last year, the regional state has been hit by series of violent conflicts. Last June, it was reported that 10 people died due to violence flared in Hawassa and resulted in an injury of 89 people and displacement of 2,500 residents.

Close to 800,000 people were displaced from Gedeo zone following a conflict with the and Guji zone of the Oromia Regional States. About 200,000 people were also displaced. Last week, a group of youth have also disrupted a party meeting of Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM), the ruling party in the state, which was held in Hawassa. They also attacked attendees of the Congress. A day before, members of SEPDM represented from the Sidama zone walked out of the party's meeting, stating that the party document for the meeting contradicts their request for statehood.

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