Thousands of Muslims visit their incarcerated leaders at Kaliti

by Jawar Mohammed

On November 18, 2012, Ethiopia’s notorious Kaliti prison that houses countless political prisoners saw the largest number of visitors in its history. Starting at 6 am in the morning, wave of people started to arrive at the gate, and by the time prisoners came out to meet their loved ones, the line has stretched several blocks. This is part of the Ziyaraa campaign–the new tactic of the Muslim movement whereby protesters go to prisons en mass to visit their incarcerated leaders. Ziyaraa is a popular ritual tradition of visiting village elders, intellectuals and your parents to pay respect.

According to press release by organizers of the movement, the objective of the Ziyaraa campaign is two fold; provide moral support to the leadership by showing solidarity and appreciation for their sacrifice, and show the world that these are legitimately elected popular leaders not some lonely zealots the regime portray them to be.

As usual Ethiopian Christians residing in the vicinity of the prison showed solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters by providing them drinking water to help them cope with the heat. The event was concluded without any disturbance, except a minor incident where the police confiscated car plates as shown in the picture below.

Organizers say that such Ziyara will take place every week at Kaliti and other regional prisons where activists are been held. Below are some pictures from today’s event at Kaliti.