Recently, while covering the B.C. Grand Freedom Rally in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, another group of protesters arrived, whose desperate chants immediately demanded the attention of everyone near.
The small but mighty group of around 50 men, women and children were holding signs alleging that genocide is taking place in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Naturally, our cameraman and I did what constitutes good journalism — we did our best to cover both protests. Yet I couldn’t help but notice that the local mainstream media that were there to cover the fundamental freedom protest appeared to lack any interest in covering these Tigray protesters, desperately claiming that horrendous acts were happening to their loved ones back home.
Local CTV News was able to push out a report on last Saturday’s freedom rally on that very same day, with an article led by pointing out that the protesters that gathered for the freedom rally were doing so “one day after federal health officials issued a dire warning about the possibility that COVID-19 variants could cause case counts to skyrocket.”
Yet, from what I can see, they neglected to mention that those were not the only protesters that gathered, nor did they shed any light on the concerning messages for which the Tigray protesters were trying to raise awareness.
Unlike the abundance of information and expert opinions available regarding the genocide taking place against Muslim Uyghurs in communist China, claims of genocide taking place against the people of Tigray are more recent, and underreported on.
Political tensions between the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), came to a head in November 2020, following Ethiopia declaring a state of emergency after Prime Minister Abiy accused the TPLF, which leads the Tigray Regional Government, “of attacking federal troops and trying to ‘loot’ military assets.”
Since then, both governments have accused each other of unlawfulness, missiles have been fired, people have been displaced from their homes, and lives have been lost.
Debretsion Gebremichael, the chairman of the TPLF who is currently leading the military campaign against the federal government’s forces in Tigray, has labelled what is happening in Tigray as a devastating and genocidal war brought on by Prime Minister Abiy, with assistance from the Eritrean army. Debretsion has urged the international community to investigate his allegations, which include “widespread incidents of murder, rape, torture and starvation.”
While a spokeswoman for Abiy dismissed the claims as “delusions”, you can click here to watch my full report on the Vancouver-based protesters with family in Tigray who believe such claims are very, very real.
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