Somalia Bans Public Gatherings Due to COVID-19 Ahead of Protest


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Tensions are running high in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu as protesters prepare to defy a coronavirus-related government ban on gatherings and go ahead with a march on Tuesday to stage a protest against the country’s incumbent leader, whose term expired last week.

On Wednesday, government ministers including those of Security, Health and Information ministries announced a well anticipated ban on public gatherings, just days after the opposition called for mass anti-government protest scheduled to take place on Friday.

As anger grows over what the opposition bills as efforts by president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to cling to power after his term expired, the government noted that there were no political motives behind the ban taking effect just a day before the protest.

The International community had earlier called on the opposition to call off the demonstration, raising fear that it might plunge the country into unrest and chaos amid reports that security agencies are preparing for foiling the demonstration.

The US embassy in Mogadishu warned American citizens of getting closer to areas where the march would be held and raise vigilance over possible violence in the city, according to Caasimada Online website.

Opposition protesters to defy ban on gatherings

Somali opposition leaders urged their supporters to take to the streets in defiance of government order and attend Friday’s protest against Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s efforts to stay in power beyond his term.

Former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told supporters that residents in Mogadishu should gather in large numbers at areas destined for the “peaceful” demonstration to take place and ignore warnings by the government.

Former Galmudug leader Abdikarim Hussein Guled accused the government of using coronavirus as a pretext to stifle dissent and mount crackdown on peaceful demonstrators demanding the incumbent leader to step down before a widely accepted poll could be held.

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