Somali President Visits Central Ohio Despite Local Protests


Members of Columbus' Somali community gathered outside the Hilton at Polaris Sunday evening to protest the visit of the country's president.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud is scheduled to speak at The Ohio State University on Monday morning.  

Protesters clashed with Mohamoud supporters who were at the hotel for an event with the Somali president.

The group accuses President Mohamoud of breaking Somalia’s Constitution.

“Arms twisting, coercing and naturally no vote takes place without paying money,”  said demonstrator Mohamoud Ali.

They also point a finger at Mohamoud and his government in regards to the much publicized issues of rape in the country.

“They are not doing anything against the rape and abuse of women and children,” said Ali.

Protesters also believe President Mohamoud is connected to the Kenya mall massacre as well, where 68 people were killed.  

The Somali-based group, Al-Shabaab has taken responsibility for that attack.

“It is the notion that the Mogadishu government is actually in cahoots with that action,” said Ali.

But Mohamoud supporters want a voice as well, excited to see their president in person.

“We happy.  Tonight we happy.  Everybody’s happy.  Everybody in Somalia is happy,”  said supporter Abdinasir Afrah.

No physical confrontations at the protest,  but one person was taken away by police.

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