Protestors Killed in Stampede After Police Fired On Rally in Ethiopia

تم نشره في Sat 1 October / Oct 2016. 11:00 PM
  • Ethopian Military and Security Personnel - (BBC)

ADDIS ABABA — Dozens of people have been killed and injured in Ethiopia's Oromia region after security forces fired on a protest at a festival, witnesses told Reuters, Some died in a panicked stampede after troops opened fire, the reports said.

Police in Ethiopia's Oromiya region fired teargas and warning shots on Sunday to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival, triggering a stampede that the opposition party said killed at least 50 people, according to the BBC.

The government did not give a precise death toll resulting from chaotic scenes, but said "lives were lost" and that several were injured.

Thousands had gathered for a religious festival in Bishoftu, 40km (25 miles) from the capital Addis Ababa. Some reports said troops responded after anti-government protesters threw stones and bottles, while others said demonstrators were entirely peaceful.

Ethiopia's government said in a statement that "lives were lost", adding: "Those responsible

An Oromo activist, Jawar Mohamed, is quoted as saying nearly 300 people were killed and many more injured. He said troops and a helicopter gunship had opened fire, driving people off a cliff and into a lake.

There has been no independent confirmation of this.

There have been months of deadly clashes in Ethiopia recently.

People in the Oromia and Amhara regions have complained about political and economic marginalisation.

The US has expressed concern about what it termed the excessive use of force against protesters.

Crowds at Sunday's Oromo festival, which AP news agency said had attracted two million people, chanted "We need freedom" and "We need justice", witnesses said.

Some participants crossed their wrists above their heads, a gesture that has become a symbol of Oromo protests.

The unrest was sparked last November by a plan to expand the capital into Oromia. This led to fears that farmers from the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, would be displaced.

The plan was later dropped but protests continued, highlighting issues such as marginalisation and human rights.

(Agencies)

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