Thousands of individuals displaced by the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia took to the streets Tuesday in demonstrations, demanding a prompt return to their homes and the withdrawal of what they perceive as invading forces. It has been approximately two and half years since the Ethiopian government launched operations in Tigray against the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and displaced millions of people from their homes.
Protesters in multiple cities, including the regional capital Mekele, expressed their demands through chants and placards, as captured in video clips aired on the local Tigrai TV channel. Chanting slogans, such as “return us quickly to our homelands” and “invading forces should leave our land,” the protesters voiced their desire for the withdrawal of Ethiopian government forces, who they perceive as invading forces. Notably, the local news station which captured videos of the protest, Tigrai TV, is controlled by the TPLF. AFP News reported that, due to ongoing restrictions on journalist access to Tigray, verifying the situation on the ground remains a challenge.
Nearly 3 million Ethiopians have been displaced from their homes due to the conflict. On top of that, there have been reports of widespread violence, human rights abuses and destruction of infrastructure. Displaced individuals have faced numerous challenges, including limited access to essential services such as food, nutrition, health, water and sanitation infrastructure. Efforts to address the humanitarian crisis and resolve the conflict are ongoing, with international organizations and humanitarian agencies–including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)–providing assistance to those affected.
The situation in the Tigray region has been complex and marked by the ongoing conflict between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF since 2020. Tensions reached a critical point in November 2020 when the Ethiopian government, under the directive of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, initiated a military offensive in response to an assault on federal military installations within the region. Though the two parties signed a peace agreement in November 2022, the situation remains complex in Tigray.