The Hague – Around 180 members of the Eritrean community in the Netherlands held a demonstration in support of the Dutch government. With the demonstration, the organisers wanted to express gratitude for the actions of the Dutch government, including declaring head of the Eritrean embassy office ‘persona non grata’; they also wanted to show that the fight for justice and freedom is not yet over.
The group of demonstrators represents a majority of Eritreans that oppose the Eritrean regime, the organisers say – although a a large group is afraid to express this.
In a letter to the Dutch government and parliament, the organisers of the demonstration – on behalf of the Eritrean community in the Netherlands – expressed gratitude for the work of the Dutch government in helping the Eritrean community. They stated that the actions of the Dutch government, such as the strong political signal of expelling a Dutch embassy official, has strengthened the feeling of security for the Eritrean refugees in the Netherlands.
In practice, however, the Eritrean community states that activities of pressure, coercion and threats, as described in the Dutch report ‘nothing is what it seems’, still take place. That is why it remains important to protest against the Eritrean dictatorship, the letter reads.
Furthermore, the demonstration organisers stress that a different protest organised by the Eritrean regime in March is not representative of the Eritrean community and that participants are pressured to take part.
The Eritrean community in the Netherlands asks, among other things, for the permanent closing of the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague, investigation into the role of the Consul, Solomon Mehari, and other embassy employees, and illegal funding flows to the embassy office.