The Ethiopian embassy in the UK has apologised for posting a picture of fans holding up an “erroneous” map of the country, that included Eritrea as a part, at Dubai Marathon.
Thousands of fans attended the marathon on Friday to cheer on athletes and among them was a large group of Ethiopian residents, who celebrated fiercely when Getaneh Molla set a course record in the men’s race.
They waved flags and pictures of the prime minister, and one held up a cut out of a map of Ethiopia that included Eritrea in the north. A photo of the crowd, and that map, was shared by the Ethiopian embassy in the UK.
The post was met with outrage from Eritreans with a Twitter user describing the image as a “deliberate and failed attempt to test our nationalism.”
Writing on Facebook, another said: “Use the correct maps. We paid [a] heavy price, thousand[s] of martyrs for our independence and we are ready to do it again.
“Ethiopians should understand that and it’s a red line to us. Use the correct map Ethiopians.”
On Saturday, the Ethiopian embassy apologised for the post, which it said was a “genuine mistake”.
We deeply apologise for any offence caused by our post on Friday, of a picture of Ethiopian fans holding up an erroneous map of Ethiopia at the Dubai Marathon.
The post has been taken down and measures are being taken to ensure that this does not happen again in future. pic.twitter.com/Pwuklj9YjV
— Ethiopian Embassy UK ???? (@EthioEmbassyUK) January 26, 2019
“We realise that this post has caused offence and have subsequently taken it down. It was a genuine mistake and we regret its posting and any offence it inadvertently caused.”