Ethiopian demonstrators throw tomatoes in Bonn

7th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2005, BONN, GERMANY - A two-day conference on Africa's future began behind closed doors in the German city of Bonn Saturday.

7 November 2005

BONN, GERMANY - A two-day conference on Africa's future began behind closed doors in the German city of Bonn Saturday.

Hosted by Germany's President Horst Koehler, the gathering of African leaders, academics and other experts was to discuss new forms of development aid.

Koehler, who is a former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), arranged the meeting to kick off his "Partnershp with Africa" initiative. It is aimed at establishing an "open dialogue" between the industrialized world and African nations.

An estimated 400 Ethiopians demonstrated as guests arrived Saturday for a reception in Bonn before the conference began.

The protesters hurled tomatoes at the steps of Bonn's ornate town hall. They said they were protesting at the use of police force in Ethiopia, where nearly 50 people have been killed in the last few days in anti-government demonstrations.

They said they were also protesting at Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's attendance at the conference. Meles did not attend Saturday's pre-conference reception hosted by the mayor of Bonn, Baerbel Dieckmann.

The opposition in Ethiopia maintains that the government won elections in May by fraud.

Among the speakers at the conference are President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

Koehler invited participants and Germany's caretaker chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to an informal dinner Saturday evening at his Bonn residence, the Villa Hammerschmid.

European and African journalists and intellectuals have also been invited to discuss what kind of advances should be left to Africans to achieve and what should be expected from development aid.

Others attending will include former Mozambican president Joaquim Alberto Chissano and former Niger premier Ibrahim Mayaki as well as Nobel Literature laureate Wole Soyinka and the Swedish author Henning Mankell, who lives in Mozambique.

DPA

Subject: German news

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