March 22, 2006
You can get things so out of perspective.
This morning, there only seemed to be one important thing going on in Addis Ababa. The imprisoned opposition leaders, journalists and alleged rioters were up for their latest court appearance.
Red-beret special forces were back on the streets, speeding around town in open-top camouflaged pick-ups. They passed every ten minutes or so, two soldiers standing up at the front with assault rifles balanced on the roof of the cab, their fingers about two centimetres away from the trigger.
I was walking up towards Sedist Kilo, hoping to get a photo of the armed prisoner-escort vehicles as they left the court. Beige-uniformed police stood 50 paces apart either side of the road up to the university, swinging truncheons in their hands.
Just on the university junction of the Sedist Kilo roundabout, two feet from the policemen, a beggar was stretched out on his back, mouthing a few words and holding his hand out for small change. He looked unusually emaciated. A traffic warden had stopped to spoon-feed some milk into his mouth. I pushed a small amount of money under his blanket and walked on trying to find a good place for a shot.
No more than five minutes later I passed the spot again. A blanket had been placed over the man's face. The traffic warden said something in Amharic. “He's dead“, translated a couple of passing university students. “HIV”.
Twenty minutes later a grey van arrived to take the body away. Apparently, people who die on the streets of Addis Ababa without anyone to claim them first get taken to Menelik Hospital, then buried at one of a number of specially set-aside plots.
Just before lunch at the court at Sedist Kilo, the proceedings came to a conclusion - charges dropped against some of the lesser-known defendants and yet another adjournment. I missed the mass exit and left without a picture.
UPDATE: This is what was happening inside the court.
Ethiopia court drops charges against 18 suspects - Reuters
An Ethiopian court dropped charges against 18 opposition members facing treason and genocide charges on Wednesday after the prosecution said it would not proceed with the case against them for now...
The trial was adjourned until May 2. Lead Prosecutor Shimele Kemal said the prosecution would maintain its right to re-institute charges against the 18.
Posted by aheavens at March 22, 2006 10:50 AM