Group protests genocide in Ethiopia in Thurmont square

May 19, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Police and protesters in Thurmont's town square on Saturday, the closing day of the G-8 Summit in nearby Camp David.
By Andrew Schotz

THURMONT, Md. — Protesters speaking out against genocide in Ethiopia took to Thurmont's main intersection Saturday, when a G-8 Summit in nearby Camp David was scheduled to wrap up.

Police in riot gear stood in rows in the street as dozens of protesters held signs, waved flags, chanted and shouted messages through bullhorns.

Their target was Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zanawi, whom they accused of being “one of the worst human rights violators in the world,” according to a two-page packet protesters distributed.

Zanawi was one of four African leaders invited to attend the G-8 Summit to discuss food security, joining leaders of eight of the most industrialized nations in the world, including the United States.

Protesters, who came from across the country to meet in Thurmont, said Zanawi’s regime has engaged in genocide. Their written packet called starvation and killing in the Ogaden region “the worst crisis taking place in Africa.”

The tone Saturday morning was markedly different than it was Friday, when a modest number of protesters appeared, mostly from Occupy movements, for peaceful, low-key demonstrations. Streets were kept open, as a strong police presence monitored activities.

Beth Emmerling of Occupy Baltimore said Friday that she expected caravans of supporters to join them Saturday.

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