A pro-Eritrean government group referring to the ‘Fourth Front’ or 4G has announced a demonstration with military character in the Netherlands on 16 October to “take revenge and be compensated for our disrupted festivals,” as announced in a message on Facebook. It is not clear whether it will be held in Amsterdam or The Hague. Eritrean refugees and diaspora members fear that this demonstration in fact refers to a military action, and that it means the opening of the ‘fourth front’ in the Netherlands, which they fear could lead to threats or worse. In Israel, where the ‘fourth front’ first become well-known, two Eritreans have died so far in attacks by Eritrean regime supporters.
Pro-government Eritreans refer to the diaspora’s role in the “fight of Eritrea’s development” as the fourth front, abbreviated as 4G. Pro-democracy Eritreans have increasingly linked references to 4G to violent movements and militia, including Eri-Blood, Eri-Mekhete and Eri-Hadelibi. Pro-government Eritreans referring to 4G have now announced a demonstration in the Netherlands on 16 October, most likely taking place in The Hague, in which pro-democracy Eritreans fear violence might be used.
The invitation to the event states that the demonstration is a chance to move “from theory to action” and calls upon pro-government Eritreans all over Europe to participate. The invitation states that “If EPLF Mendelay (heroes of Eri-Mekhete) attack the liars of the TPLF [Tigray People’s Liberation Front] and paralyses them, they will be useless.” It goes on to announce that the Fourth Front will be victorious. The message accuses Eritrean protesters of being Tigrayans, and accuses Tigrayans of being liars.
In Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv, groups associated to 4G have already been accused of killing two people. After over 150 people were injured during clashes at a pro-government festival in the beginning of September, the violence has continued. Following the events, videos and pictures spread of members of the Eri-Mekhete militia carrying guns and participating in training in preparation for violence. On 30 September, an Eritrean man was stabbed to death and around a dozen others were injured in an attack reportedly committed by pro-government Eritreans. In separate attacks, another Eritrean in Tel Aviv was killed, and two other Eritreans hospitalised.
In addition, it is reported that at least one Eritrean was killed after being beheaded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while another Eritrean was stabbed, states Asenna TV. It is reported that the brutal attack is suspected to have been committed pro-government Eritreans. Images and videos from other places, such as Denver, United States, also appear to show pro-government Eritreans bringing guns to protests.
Now pro-democracy diaspora members fear that violence and militia activity propagated through the ‘fourth front’ could spread and lead to further violence against Eritreans abroad. The Eritrean diaspora organisation Organization for Eritrean Human Rights Defenders have written to Dutch authorities asking for the demonstration announced for 16 October to be cancelled, warning that it is in fact part of a military action organised from Eritrea, and that the event incites violence.