The party chair, Gebru Asrat, is a former president of Tigrai region and former member of the region's ruling Tigrai People's Liberation Front. However, his party has organized around principles opposed to those of the TPLF. "TPLF is now in a campaign to register the whole Tigrai people under revolutionary democracy without the people's consent," said Gebru.Local police surrounded the hall with tight security and the organizers hosted a lively discussion. In spite of some apparent efforts to disrupt the meeting, Gebru and the party's officers maintained a free and open political discussion. The people need to see free and fair political discussion among political parties, one speaker said.
Lawyer and party vice-chair
Berhanu Berhe raised the issue of the loss of the port of Assab to Eritrea. "We
can claim and argue to get right on the port of Assab legally, historically and
politically."Arena Tigrai opposes the revolutionary
democracy of the nation's ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic
Front with a political system they identify as liberal democracy. Arena detailed
its political ideology during the Mekele meeting and entertained dozens of questions
from the audience.
Gebru emphasized the need for
unity among Ethiopia's political parties and said his party has designed a
strategy to cooperate with other opposition parties.