Police defend action on campus

Students were told to present complaints in a proper and legal manner, after clashes between police and students in the Addis Ababa campus. The crime prevention department of the federal police said “illegal activity” was not acceptable, after clashes left some 45 students injured. After boycotting classes, students held protest meetings against what they said was the university administration’s violation of academic freedom, the pro-Ethiopian government Walta Information Centre said on 15 April. The students were also protesting against the adoption of the University’s Charter without the participation of student representation, and the decision by the university administration to ban the publication of the students’ magazine, Walta said. Official sources said some 45 students had been injured after police entered the campus, and were hospitalised at the main government-run Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa.

The federal police said the students had mixed up issues that could be answered by the university administration, and called on them to channel their complaints through legitimate channels. According to a report on state-run Ethiopian radio on 12 April, the police officers coordinating the student operation before Tuesday’s clash realised “that sending police officers into the university campus was wrong”. But police were then “forced to take action” when students started “taking illegal action”, the police department said. Education Minister Genet Zewde had held meetings with student representatives to resolve the problems, official media said.