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Women Rally To Demand Protection Of Their Rights

Panafrican News Agency (Dakar), 10 February 2001

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—Saturday staged a peaceful rally in Addis Ababa to demand the protection of women’s rights in the country.

The women first gathered at Maskal Square and later marched to parliament building and the nearby council of state to deliver petitions to legislators and the Prime Minister’s office.

The protestors chanted slogans as they carried placards exhorting the protection of women’s rights. They urged the government to amend Ethiopia’s criminal law so that stiffer sentence would be meted out against those that rape and abduct minor females, a common practice in the country.

The rally was preceded by three nights of a candle-light vigil at the square where activists held pep-talks and parents of rape victims related stories to raise public awareness of this type of abuse.

During the rally at Maskal Square, three parents—one of them a father—told listeners of about the rape of their children aged 10 years and below.

In one case the rapist was given only a five-year sentence, they said, adding that in the other two cases, the suspects were set free on 1,000 birr (120 US dollars) bail.

I urge all of you to fight such injustices. The laws should be strictly applied against criminals that abuse our children, one mother said. Gender