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Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Protest Vigil Outside the Eritrean Embassy in London


About a 100 protestors from across the UK held a vigil outside the Eritrean Embassy in London, on Wednesday 31st of May 2006. The vigil that was organised to mark the fourth anniversary since the closure of all Churches not belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Churches of Eritrea, was attended by Eritreans and friends of Eritrea who travelled from across the UK and Ireland.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Berhane Asmelash, director of Release Eritrea said; ‘ I am yet again touched by the solidarity with which, our brothers and sisters across the UK have stood, with us and the persecuted church of Eritrea, this is a message of hope that our compatriots will never be forgotten, if the authorities in Eritrea were hoping that our support would diminish with time this shows that the opposition to their barbaric acts are only getting stronger’.

Stuart Windsor, National Director of CSW, said: "We are delighted that so many Christians have joined our campaigns for Eritrea. The faith of those persecuted in Eritrea is an inspiration to us all. The overall human rights situation in Eritrea has deteriorated markedly and the international community must act before the situation becomes any worse."

During the vigil that lasted two and a half hours hymns were sang, prayers were offered and scripture texts were read. This, the organisers said was to signify all that Eritrean Christians have been denied by virtue of government decree.

Whilst several letters were handed to the Embassy an official response was not forth coming on the day. On the other-hand the heavy handed approach of the Embassy officials in handling protestors was evident. Image capturing devises were mounted on windows of the embassy building in a tactic aimed at dissuading Eritrean protestors. However on this occasion as in all previous occasions these actions failed to put off any of the protestors, but showed the utter cowardice of those who seek to silence the Eritrean public. One protestor said; ‘if they mean to scare us why don’t they come down with their cameras and take pictures from here? Why hide behind curtains on the second floor?’

At a time when over a thousand Eritrean Christians are incarcerated for their faith, many protestors were seen hoisting plaque cards with their images on them with captions that read ‘Why are you persecuting me’ some of those prisoners like the Prominent Gospel Singer Helen Berhane have been in prisons, often in solitary and incommunicado for over two years.

Release –Eritrea thanks all those who stood in solidarity with Eritrean Christians particularly our Eritrean compatriots who sacrificed repercussions from government of Eritrea representatives here in the UK.

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