Norway: Eritreans demonstrate against pro-government meeting

Source: NRK

BERGEN (NRK): Norwegian Eritreans who do not want to support the dictator in their home country are being ejected by the Eritrean Association. On Saturday, several of them demonstrated at a closed meeting for supporters of the Bergen regime.

This week NRK wrote about the Eritrean Association in Oslo, which according to the Eritrean opposition environment is controlled by the regime in Eritrea.

According to NRK sources, the association is a front organization for what is one of the world’s most repressive regimes. The association itself has rejected this.

On Saturday afternoon Norwegian Eritreans who do not support the regime met outside the premises of Bergen International Cultural Center. Inside a meeting was taking place organised by the Eritrean association Hordaland.

Behind closed doors

At the closed meeting, supporters and representatives from the regime gathered. Also present at the gathering was Abraham Woldu, who for several years has been an informal representative of Eritrea in Norway.

NRK has also been informed that a representative from the Eritrean embassy in Stockholm was among the participants.

The protesters believe the meeting was designed to promote the totalitarian regime in the country.

According to promoter Hirity Isaksen, the meeting was first announced as being open, and later closed.

In an SMS to NRK, the association also confirms that today’s meeting was internal and open to members only.

“We react that the meeting is suddenly closed to Eritrean refugees who want to ask questions. This is an ideal association that receives support from the public. They invite openly, but when we come they say that it is closed and that we must be members,” says Isaksen.

Distances from the regime

About twenty protesters met outside the premises at Kong Oscars gate in the center of Bergen.

“They are holding these meetings to get financial support for the regime to help prop it up,” demonstrator Bashir Abulkader said.

He says that all the protesters want to say a clear no to the dictatorship and the country’s long-standing dictator Isaias Afwerki.

They also wanted to make it clear that the Eritrean Association does not represent all Eritreans in Norway.

A closed association

Leader of the regime-critical organization Eritrean Committee, Finn Våge, told NRK that the Eritrean association in Norway has gradually been taken over by politically active people who are loyal to the dictator.

“They have almost closed this association, so that real Eritrean refugees to Norway cannot participate in it. Those who oppose the board of Eritrea are thrown out and have to form their own associations,” says Våge.

This is confirmed by Professor Kjetil Tronvoll at Bjørknes University College in Oslo.

“Several Eritreans in my network say that this is an association that clearly supports the regime in Eritrea, and which the regime also uses informally as its ‘representatives’ in Norway,” says Tronvoll.

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