Today February 21, 2018, a strike by bus drivers is disrupting transportation services in Ethiopia. The bus drivers union is particularly against sending its drivers on routes from Addis Abeba to neighboring Amhara region that deems it too dangerous for its drivers. As a result, Menhariya (Ethiopia’s major bus station) is teeming with stranded travelers who started gathering at the station as early as 5:30 AM in hopes of catching a bus to reach their destinations. A conflict that started between the owners of the buses, the bus drivers union, the station operators and the travelers did not get resolved until a report came at 3 PM this afternoon.
The bus drivers said, in their recent travels in the Amhara region, they have been stopped by the inhabitants of the region and have been given a pass for not knowingly driving these forbidden routes. However, the people have warned the bus drivers if they catch the bus drivers next time they will take action against the bus they are driving and the drivers themselves. For this reason, the bus drivers say, they are not driving these routes anymore. The buses drivers added the government is telling them to just drive their buses instead of attempting to address the grievances of the people. Selam Bus, owned and operated by Tigran People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) party, one of the four party’s that make up the coalition of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) have reportedly stopped operating in the Amhara region. It is increasingly becoming a common trend for more and more unions showing their solidarity with the protest movement and amplifying the concerns of the people and challenging the government.