Parliament Probes Grievances of University

Parliament Probes Grievances of University Students

 

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)

May 3, 2001

Posted to the web May 3, 2001

 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

The federal parliament Thursday began probing a petition outlining the grievances of students of Addis Ababa University in a bid to resolve the current crisis between them an the government.

 

Parliament said the legal and social committees were investigating complaints by the students against the ministry of education and the federal police commission, in connection with the 17-18 April disturbances at the university, according local press reports. Police rounded up and beat thousands of students during the riots that were joined by hooligans in Addis Ababa.

 

The students began boycotting classes since 10 April in protest against the presence of police on their campus, requesting more academic freedom, the freedom of speech and assembly and the right to form their unions and run a student newsletter without interference from University authorities.

 

In their petition, the students said they were still boycotting classes because the ministry of education and authorities of the university have not met their demands.

 

They complained that police were still detaining hundreds of their colleagues in connection with the disturbances and the wide-scale looting and destruction in Addis Ababa by non-students who took advantage of the confusion.

 

The petition strongly objected four unnamed "conditionalities" which they were required to sign in order to be readmitted to the university.

 

Police rounded up and beat thousands of students during the riots that were joined by hooligans in Addis Ababa.

 

The students began boycotting classes since 10 April in protest against the presence of police on their campus, requesting more academic freedom, the freedom of speech and assembly and the right to form their unions and run a student newsletter without interference from University authorities.

 

In their petition, the students said they were still boycotting classes because the ministry of education and authorities of the university have not met their demands.

 

They complained that police were still detaining hundreds of their colleagues in connection with the disturbances and the wide-scale looting and destruction in Addis Ababa by non-students who took advantage of the confusion.

 

The petition strongly objected four unnamed "conditionalities" which they were required to sign in order to be readmitted to the university.

 

Meanwhile, university authorities have called for the setting up of teachers-students ad hoc committees to find ways of easing the crisis and pave the way for the resumption of classes within 10 days.

 

The committees would discuss the students' demands and other outstanding issues with the university's senate.

 

About 31 people were reportedly killed and about 143 sustained minor and serious injuries during the 17-18 riots, which led to the destruction of public and private property in Addis Ababa, police said.

 

Copyright 2001 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed by AllAfrica Global

Media (allAfrica.com).