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Eritrean opposition activists protest in London

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

About 150 Eritrean opposition activists staged a rare protest in London on Friday and laid a coffin with the name of President Issaias Afeworki outside the embassy of the the Horn of Africa nation.

The demonstrators chanted "Issaias must go" and "Free, free Eritrea" while holding placards in English and Arabic saying "Game over, dictator must go", and "The people want to overthrow the regime".

The protest comes after troops demanding political reform briefly seized the information ministry in the Eritrean capital Asmara on January 21 in a rare challenge to the one-party authoritarian regime.

Protester Harnet Pokrezion, 35, told AFP there was "unprecedented energy and momentum" in the opposition movement following the protests.

"We need freedom, democracy. Enough is enough. I can't hide while my people are being killed", said Mussa Beshir, who came with his family.

The protesters stayed behind barriers set up by police to keep them away from the embassy and dispersed without incident after the rally.

Protesters managed to enter the embassy in January, when they took down the president's picture and stepped on it.

Opposition parties are banned under the regime of Issaias, who has ruled the Horn of Africa nation since its independence in 1993.

Independent media were shut down after a political purge in 2001, and Eritrea expelled the last registered foreign correspondent in 2010.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130222/eritrean-opposition-activists-protest-london