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African leaders move to quash dissent before it can form

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As protests continue across the Arab world, rumblings of political discontent have sounded in sub-Saharan Africa as well. These rumblings range from serious protests in Gabon and Sudan to pro-revolution newspaper columns in countries like Nigeria. Revolution will likely not spread through sub-Saharan Africa, but leaders in Ethiopia and Uganda moved this week to block even the possibility of uprisings. These moves show that the Arab protests are making some African leaders quite nervous, particularly as their countries navigate political transitions.

In Ethiopia, journalist Eskinder Nega has compared his country to Egypt and speculated about the possibility of an Egypt-style mobilization in Ethiopia. Eskinder’s remarks online and on the radio drew the attention, he says, of the Ethiopian government:

Eskinder Nega says six heavily-armed policemen jumped from a truck on a busy central Addis Ababa street last week, grabbed him and whisked him away to federal police headquarters. He says during a two-hour detention, he was brought before a deputy police commissioner who did not identify himself, but who warned him his activities were considered seditious.

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