'No more negotiation': Ethiopians denounce U.S. at rally

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians rallied in the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday (November 7) in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government - and in many cases, in opposition to the United States.

Forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front have threatened to march on the capital prompting a state of emergency.

In Addis, protesters like Tigist Lemma were angry at a U.S. call for the Ethiopian government to begin talks with the TPLF - which has been designated a terrorist group.

"They want to destroy our country like they did Afghanistan. They will never succeed. We are Ethiopians. We are children of Adwa. With which TPLF are we going to negotiate? The one that killed and raped us? One that stabbed our mothers and fathers with combat knives? We will never, ever negotiate with them."

Protesters also held signs denouncing "fake news" in Ethiopia.

The government has complained about foreign coverage of the conflict - with Abiy's spokesperson tweeting late on Saturday (November 6) that "orchestrated media propaganda against Ethiopia is escalating".

On Tuesday (November 2) U.S. President Joe Biden's administration accused Ethiopia of "gross violations" of human rights in the year-long conflict with the northern rebellious forces.

The Ethiopian government has said it takes all allegations of human rights violations seriously and is carrying out investigations.

Washington has also said it opposes any TPLF advance towards the capital.

The TPLF claimed last week it is 200 miles from Addis - Abiy's government accuses it of exaggerating territorial gains.

Under the state of emergency declared on Tuesday, the government can order citizens of a certain age into military service.

But at the rally there was a call of restraint - from popular singer Tariku Gankisi.

He said youths should not go to the frontlines and that elders should go instead, asking for reconciliation.

His speech ended when his microphone was cut off. It was unclear by whom.

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