Northbound Interstate 5 reopened in downtown Seattle late Friday afternoon after protesters drawing attention to war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region demonstrated on the freeway.
The protest had at one point caused a 4-mile backup, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. A lengthy backup remained shortly before 4 p.m., the agency said, urging travelers to “please give yourself plenty of extra time or seek alternate routes.”
The protesters were demonstrating to mark two years since fighting began in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
Rebels in Tigray attacked an Ethiopian military base Nov. 4, 2020, and Ethiopia’s president launched a military operation in the African country’s northern region.
Organizers on social media described the Seattle demonstration as a “protest against the Ethiopian and Eritrean regimes responsible for the world’s deadliest conflict.”
Protesters held a sign atop a bridge over I-5 that read: “Dear Tigray, we haven’t forgotten about you.” A video from the Seattle Tigray Network showed demonstrators chanting “stop the war in Tigray” and “free Tigray.”
The sides agreed this week to end fighting in the conflict, but enormous challenges remain. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and more than 5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Tigray, according to the World Health Organization.
The Seattle area’s Tigrayan community comprises about 1,200 to 2,000 people, according to community members, making it, after Washington, D.C., among the nation’s largest Tigrayan communities.
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Publish date : 2022-11-04 21:57:17