Update from the Arbi Harnet (Freedom Friday) Network

(Akria 02-11-2017) Following the protests in Asmara on Tuesday, and particularly the pandemonium of the shootings by government soldiers, Akria was relatively calm today.

This afternoon some of the students,  and a few women,  who were taken to prison in connection with the uprising, have been released.

So far in Akria we have counted 5 students and 3 mothers who have been freed.

The condition of their release was that under no circumstances were they to talk about their experiences in prison, or the interrogations they faced.

However, people are refusing to obey these orders and are discussing their experiences.

In the area customarily known as Taseda Tsrgia a young student in the 10th grade told us that when he was detained they took him to the police station at Asmara Expo. He was interrogated and asked to name the organisers of the march.

He was doused in freezing water repeatedly and beaten up with belts.

Today the security officers quietly reopened the school, after realising that the matter had received international attention.

They removed the uniformed, armed, officers and have replaced them with two armed police officers outside the school.

However residents have noticed that there is a huge presence of armed under-cover security people swarming around the area.

The intelligence unit has adopted a cover tactic of quietly approaching people they want for questioning and asking them to report to the local administration office, instead of raiding houses and arresting people.

Having said this, those who did as they were instructed have been taken to undisclosed locations from the local administration offices.

This afternoon alone from a single neighbourhood, known as Riga Somal, two individuals, Mr AbdelKader Ahmed and Mr Negash Beyan were called in and have now disappeared.

In a related news we have also heard that General Philipos has ordered the arrest of high ranking officers, who were coordinating the government response on Tuesday, for not shooting directly at protestors, but instead shooting into the air.

Team Arbi Harnet in Asmara would like to take this opportunity to thank all those humane officers who chose not to shoot at us, their brothers and sisters.

Finally, we are aware that as always the government is trying to make this into a sectarian movement.

We notice that some are buying into that propaganda. This is unfortunate.

Our movement is against the unjust moves of the government, and against subjugation, and although it started in the school the entire district of Akria has joined in.

We are certain that our struggle for justice will succeed and so we call on all our people inside the country and in the diaspora to join us.

Project Arbi Harnet in Asmara