Dueling protests faced off on Broadway Wednesday as Columbia anticipated the arrival of Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi.
Wielding horns and drums, a large crowd gathered on Broadway in the early afternoon to support Zenawi, while a rival protest against the prime minister led a demonstration on the other side of 115th. Meanwhile, audience members already began to line up outside Roone Arledge auditorium in Lerner for the 4:00 speech.
Zenawi spoke for less than 20 minutes inside Lerner, where he said that people have given up on Africa’s contribution to the world economy and that Africans have the chance to generate growth themselves. The continent must continue to produce and consume goods, he said.
The questions and answer session, however, is where most of the criticisms of Zenawi’s regime were raised.
How was Zenawi able to get 99.6 percent of the votes in the last Ethiopian election?, the first questioner asked to applause.
“We got 99.6 percent of the seats” not the votes, Zenawi said, adding that in their system one just needs a majority of the votes for each seat to win each seat.
He then cited the growth in Ethiopia as being the reason, he suspects, of the support he received in the election.
Another questioner asked about the free choice of Ethiopians
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