|Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks on October 10, 2011 during the opening of the Energy for All conference in Oslo. Protestors chanted against his government's perceived lack of support for human rights.|
Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi was forced to defend his government against claims of human rights abuses and the restriction of basic freedoms after his trips to Norway and Denmark were hit by protests.
Mr Meles was in the Nordic region to attend a United Nations energy summit in Oslo and another on sustainable development in Copenhagen but protestors in the Norwegian capital chanting against his policies forced him to come out fighting.
The premier at a news conference on Monday said his government had instead lifted Ethiopia from a brutal military junta regime to one that abided by the rule of law.
"We started from nothing. There was a time people were being asked to pay for the cost of bullets that killed their families," he said, adding that he was building the best democracy model for Ethiopia. He however admitted that it was not perfect "yet".
Norwegian police blocked hundreds of vocal protestors from accessing the press briefing room.
But said Mr Meles: "They have a right to express either their support or opposition, but it's a cloud, and it will be gone."
The Ethiopian leader also sought to discredit various reports that have cited his iron-hand rule and the perceived resulting crackdown on human rights and basic freedoms.
"They cannot evaluate Ethiopia because of our ideological differences. They favour neo-liberal political and economic ideology which in not accepted by the Ethiopian government," he said.