Parents of detained students on 18 August demonstrated outside the University of Asmara demanding the release of their children. Parents gathered outside the university compound for news of their children from a parents' committee which was to meet university and government officials, AFP said. "They have taken them to a very hot place, with no food, no water. It is 49 degrees there. More will die. They must take them out of that place. That's what we are begging [for]," said one woman whose son and daughter were both arrested. University President Woldeab Isak told the crowd he would meet the parents' committee to address their concerns, and that they should come back on 19 August for more information. Police reportedly dispersed the crowd, but groups of women, many of them crying, began chanting prayers, said AFP.
Some 2,000 students are being detained in the desert at Wia, 30 km from the port city of Massawa, with inadequate food, water and shelter, according to students recently released, AFP reported on 18 August. The students were detained after they refused to report for a government summer work programme in protest against the detention of their union leader.
Source:IRIN Horn of Africa Update, 20 August