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Ethiopia, police fired live bullets at peaceful protesters killing over 100

Protests against the government were held throughout Ethiopia to call for political reforms. The police shot at the crowd resulting in a massacre.

Ethiopians call for justice and democracy, their government responds with fire at the hands of the armed forces, killing over 100 protesters. During the last weekend at least one hundred unarmed people were killed and hundreds more injured by security forces in many Ethiopian cities, according to Amnesty International.

Protest against ethiopian government
Thousands of people have protested during the weekend to call for political reforms, justice and the rule of law in Ethiopia’s most densely populated regions © Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

The origin of the protests in Ethiopia

Hundreds of people poured out into the streets of many Ethiopian cities, mostly in the North-Western regions, to call for political reforms, the release of political prisoners, the respect of human rights and to protest against the government’s decision to extend the administrative boundaries of the capital Addis Abeba. In particular, the Oromo, an African ethnic group living in Ethiopia and Kenya that makes up 34% of the Ethipian population, oppose the government’s master plan to integrate parts of their community into the capital Addis Ababa. The reason of their discontent is the fear of losing their lands. According to a report released by the Human Rights Watch association, in the last eight years more than 400 Oromo protesters were killed by the police and hundreds of students were expelled from their university departments.

Protests against ethiopian government
Protests against the government took place in different Ethiopian cities

A brutal repression

The government of Addis Abeba hasn’t yet revealed the death toll and how the events unfolded. According to Amnesty International the worst bloodshed took place in the northern city of Bahir Dar where at least 30 people were killed in one day, while almost seventy people were shot dead in Oromia between Saturday and Sunday. Five police officers would have been hospitalised. And besides killing dozens of protesters, security forces arrested and took hundreds of them to clandestine prisons managed by the Ugandan police and army. According to witnesses, some people would have been arrested during the night. Moreover, the country has been denied access to the Internet.

ethiopia protests
The federal security forces, including anti-terrorism forces, have fired live bullets at peaceful protesters.

Amnesty asks to shed light on the event

“The security forces’ response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising – said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa – Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices. These crimes must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and all those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts without recourse to death penalty”.

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