5:15 PM – Woyanne supporters stage a counter demonstration. Columbia Spectator has reported that Meles’ speech lasted 20 minutes
4:50 PM – Hundreds of Ethiopians are currently holding a protest rally at Columbia University in New York where Meles Zenawi is invited to speak. Across the street, about 50 Woyanne supporters accompanied by Solomon Qindibu Tekalign are singing Tigrigna songs in support of Meles.
3:47 PM – A large crowd of protesters have now gathered at 115th and Broadway. Their number is increasing as more Ethiopians are arriving by train and cars. Columbia students with ID card are allowed to enter the campus and they are staging their own protest against the despot in front of Lerner Hall near Ronne Arledge Auditorium.
2:30 PM – The first bus that left DC has arrived in New York. Three other buses from the DC Metro Area and 2 buses from Boston will arrive at Columbia in the next few minutes. About 50 Woyanne supporters are already there to support their boss. We have been informed that some of them are Ethiopian Airlines staff and security guards who flew with him from Addis Ababa. The Woyanne-controlled Ethiopian mission at the U.S. has been sending out instructions to supporters of the regime through out eastern U.S. to come to Columbia.
12:52 PM – Freedom riders head to New York to join the protest against Meles Zenawi at Columbia University. … more update in a few minutes.
The University’s media center told Ethiopian Review that the event will not be broadcast live today, but a video will be posted online in a couple of days.
12:20 PM – One of the 4 large buses that is taking protesters to New York has stopped for break in Delaware. Here Ethiopians pose for photos during the break.
11:05 AM – Ethiopian protesters inside a bus heading to New York’s Columbia University from Washington DC to confront fascist dictator Meles Zenawi. More update shortly…
10:35 AM - The buses that left DC and Virginia are now arriving in Delaware. Prof. Bhagwati of Columbia University sent this message today:
Congratulations to Professor Vestal whose track record on Human Rights, especially in Ethiopia, is praiseworthy. It is good that he has also spoken out.9:20 AM – Three buses full of protesters have already left the DC Metro Area and are heading to New York to confront Ethiopia’s brutal dictator Meles Zenawi today. A fourth bus is about to leave. Some Ethiopians are driving their own cars and taking train. Columbia University, where Meles will be speaking, is bracing for a large protest rally… more update and photos in a few minutes
He endorses (as I did) the idea that Universities should be free to invite even tyrants to their campuses but that this must be accompanied by tough debate with them on their abusive record, rather than by encomiums to them drafted by academic entrepreneurs with personal agendas.
Aside from removing such inappropriate “sucking up” and offensive material from his website, and investigating how it got there so he does not get snookered again, I think that it is enough for President Bollinger (who is a champion of liberal values) to avoid appearing at the event. [Many academics on campus happened to strongly disagree with him when he himself attended the talk and strongly condemned the President of Iran, leading to unfortunate divisions on campus.]
Warm good wishes,
University Professor, Economics and Law