They're against the president hosting the prime minister of Ethiopia.
Main Street in Thurmont was blocked off on Saturday as hundreds of Ethiopian immigrants came to town to demonstrate. They were protesting President Barrack Obama hosting the Prime Minister of Ethiopian, Meles Zenawi, as part of the G8 Talks at nearby Camp David. Protesters say Zenawi is practicing genocide in Ogaden, a province of Ethiopia.
"What we are asking of President Barrack Obama and his administration, world leaders, people that care about human rights, justice, celebrities, all of them, to take action against this genocide before it's too late," says Abdikarm Rabi, one of the demonstrators.
He says 200-million people have died already in Ogaden. "I was a witness to the genocide in Ogaden as a 7-year-old kid. That's when I left my region. At that time, what I saw I consider as the next holocaust," Rabi said. "We promised no more holocaust. We promised no more Rwanda. We promised no more Darfur. And it's happening right now with our own tax dollar."
The Ethiopian immigrants came to Thurmont from the Washington and Baltimore areas on three buses. They held their demonstration in the center of town, at the West and East Main Streets where they intersect with Church and Water Streets, which were closed to traffic at that time. Police officers, some dressed in riot gear, kept the demonstration contained.
Protesters were marching, waving flags, and shouting such phrases as "No More Genocide," "No More Dictatorships," and "No Police State."
Town officials say they heard that the protesters were coming, and called for personnel from the Sheriff's Office and the State Police to assist.
The demonstration brought out a number of Thurmont residents, who used their personal cameras to record the event. Jaden Orchard said she has lived in Thurmont all of her life, and this is the first time she can remember that a G8 Summit has taken place nearby. "I feel like they have a good reason to be here protesting like they are. And I do agree. If it were me, I don't know if I would be out here protesting," she said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Zennawi, along with three other African heads of state were invited to discuss food security with the leaders of the Group of Eight at Camp David.
Critics say Zenawi's government represses civil liberties and the news media. Rabi, one of the protesters, says the G8 leaders need to take action against Zenawi. "We are asking President Barrack Obama to arrest Meles Zenawi for his crimes against humanity," he said.
The demonstrators dispersed peacefully, and roads were reopened in Thurmont. Five Ethiopians who tried to drive to Camp David were turned away, according to an Associated Press report.
The G8 talks ended on Saturday.