Ethiopia: At least 78 killed in protest violence, death toll could rise

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Authorities in Ethiopia say at least 78 people were killed during protest violence last week, warning the death toll could still rise as ethnic tensions continue to trouble the East African nation.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Thursday, the prime minister’s spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, said that those killed during the violence had died in a “very senseless act of violence”. She also confirmed that 409 people had been arrested in relation to the unrest that started in the capital, Addis Ababa, and the Oromia region on October 23.

Dozens killed in protest violence

Protests broke out in the capital and Oromia region last week after prominent activist Jawar Mohammed accused security forces of attempting to orchestrate an attack on his life. While the police have denied the claims, protests quickly erupted outside the home of Jawar Mohammed, in Addis Ababa, and parts of the Oromia region where both he and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed come from.

Witness accounts say protesters were chanting “down Abiy” at some of the protests.

In response to the violence, Abiy Ahmed travelled to the town of Ambo in the Oromia region where he was met with boos by some 700 protesters, according to local witnesses. During a meeting between the PM and local politicians, protesters gathered outside the town hall chanting “down Abiy,” according to reports from people who attended the protest.

One local publication said the protest forced Abiy Ahmed to leave the meeting early and have him airlifted to safety.

Featured image: Free domain, Kremlin.ru

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.