Students Have Been Protesting In Eritrea Against the Government Interfering with Their School
Anti-government protests are rare in Eritrea, as the country does not protect the freedom to protest.
Students in Asmara, Eritrea, staged a demonstration Tuesday to protest the government's interference in the affairs of a community-funded Muslim school, BBC reports.
The students attend Diae Al Islam, one of the best private schools in the capital. They offer both secular and Islamic education. Their protest was a response to reports that its chairman, Hajj Musa Mohammed Nur, 90, and other members of the school board were arrested after pushing back against the government's attempts to regulate the school.
BBC reports a video circulating on social media that shows Nur speaking before his arrest, saying that authorities demanded that the school drop religious teachings, ban the hijab and stop the separation of sexes.
There have also been reports of shooting in the city, where Information Minister Yemane Meskel downplayed reports of violence on Twitter.
Plaut is a pathological liar par excellence.Small demonstration by one school in Asmara dispersed without any casuality hardly breaking news— Yemane G. Meskel (@Yemane G. Meskel)1509479775.0
Some Eritreans on the platform seem to agree with Meskel.
Live from Eritrea: life is as peaceful as always, a small incident where NOBODY was injured or killed! When will the media stop lying ?— Mela G/Medhin (@Mela G/Medhin)1509552690.0
Fake news alert: Everyone in #Eritrea knows no one was injured in yesterday's Asmara incident. AP Ethiopia journalists spreading lies.— madote (@madote)1509559891.0
The U.S. Embassy, however, said it received reports of gunfire in "several locations."
According to Tesfalem Araia of BBC's Tigrinya service, the Eritrean government cut off internet access in the wake of the protest, as messages aren't coming in from people in the country.
Eritrea has been under rule by President Isaias Afwerki for 26 years. Anti-establishment protests like this in the country are very rare because of its restrictions and not having a constitution that guarantees the rights of citizens, including the right to protest.