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Ethiopia Excited, But Cautious, Over Obama Visit – Voice of America

VOA was ordered by Addis Ababa police to stop filming after speaking residents

Ethiopia did not roll out the red carpet when a little-known U.S. senator decided, in 2006, to visit a flood-stricken rural town and pledged to lobby for aid from the U.S. military.

Nine years later, as president of the United States, Barack Obama is being welcomed with pomp and excitement in the nation that made such a strong impression on him as a junior senator.

Until Sunday morning, the only sign of his impending arrival in this security-conscious diplomatic capital were heavily armed federal police stationed on every major road. Local police also set up roadblocks and conducted vehicle searches and pat-downs on drivers and passengers.

But on Sunday afternoon, American flags began to pop up on Addis Ababa’s main Bole Road thoroughfare, alongside posters bearing Obama’s smiling face.

WATCH: VOA’s Anita Powell previews President Obama’s visit to Ethiopia