The Eritrean ‘Fourth Front’:  Festivals as a tool to control the diaspora

Riots broke out in The Hague on 17 February 2024. It is the latest in a string of clashes around the world involving pro-democracy and pro-government Eritreans. The latter group organises festivals, proclaimed to be cultural festivals, but which pro-democracy Eritreans state are in reality propaganda events; places were high-level Eritrean officials visit, where diaspora Eritreans go under pressure and threats, where military propaganda and hate speech are spread, and where Eritreans have to pay money to the Eritrean government. Now, a picture is emerging of a highly coordinated effort by the Eritrean government to control the diaspora, which it calls the ‘Fourth Front’, through militia-like structures, including Eri-Blood and Eri-Mekhete. 

The Eritrean “Fourth Front” announces a ‘revenge demonstration’ in the Netherlands for festival disruptions

A pro-Eritrean government group referring to the ‘Fourth Front’ or 4G has announced a demonstration in the Netherlands on 16 October to “take revenge and be compensated for our disrupted festivals,” as announced in a message on Facebook. 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.