Thousands of Somali residents gathered at the Conis Stadium in the Somali capital on Wednesday to express their anger regarding the recent agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland concerning sea and port leases.
Ethiopia is believed to have been granted an exclusive lease on the sea for a period of 50 years, which has raised concerns about Somalia’s sovereignty.
The Mogadishu regional administration organized the rally to allow residents to express their concerns regarding the perceived encroachment on Somalia’s maritime territory.
At the rally, Somalis were chanting and holding banners throughout worried that the lease agreement would undermine Somalia’s national interests and put their livelihood in danger.
According to demonstrators, the lease could establish a precedent for further resource exploitation in Somalia.
Several others, including Hussein Gesey, have advised the Ethiopian government to cease its violations and interventions.
“Firstly, we would tell Ethiopia to halt its intervention in Somalia. While Somalia is a sovereign country with well-established boundaries that are recognized by the UN, I would tell them to behave themselves and to follow the rules.” Gesey said
In a speech to the thousands of protestors at the rally, Ahmed Moallim Fiqi, the Interior Minister of the Somali federal government said, “The federal government finds it unacceptable that we’re ignored by an Ethiopian prime minister who belittles our federal government’s role by delegitimizing it. That’s a violation and unacceptable.”
In their warnings about the dangers of the agreement, the speakers also urged the crowd to unite to defend the sovereignty of Somalia.
During the rally, participants spoke about the potential long-term effects of the deal, as well as the need for a united front to combat any perceived threats to national freedom and economic stability that could be posed by the deal in the future.