The phenomenon of Eritreans celebrating the regime they have fled from is familiar in other European countries, experts say.
Dozens of Norwegian Eritreans have attended a party arranged by the Eritrean regime and celebrated the 25th anniversary of compulsory military service, which is the main reason why many Eritreans were granted asylum in the first place.
The party celebrated the 25th anniversary of the introduction of Eritrean national service and the establishment of the SAWA Training Defence Centre, national broadcaster NRK reported. It was held at Bryn Event Hall in Oslo and featured Yemane Gebreab, the Eritrean president’s closest adviser, referred to as “number two” in the East African country.
In photos and videos from the party, widely shared on social media, many of the participants are seen wearing military-like camouflage T-shirts and waving Eritrean flags. Many are seen taking selfies with Gebreab.
The sheer popularity of the event raised eyebrows, as Eritrea’s mandatory military service is one of the most often cited reasons in asylum requests from Eritreans.
Woldab Feshatzion, the leader of Eritrean Community Association in Norway, called the attendees “cohorts of the regime”.
“Many of them have fled this regime. To me, it shows that they are not real asylum seekers, and have been allowed to stay on a false basis”, Feshatzion complained to national broadcaster NRK. According to him, this…