October 02, 2016
Religious Festival In Ethiopia Turns Into Deadly Fighting
After thousands gathered for the Irreecha festival in Bishoftu, violence broke out between protestors and security forces, killing dozens of people. Although many witnesses claim the demonstrators were entirely peaceful, police eventually used tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges to create a “stampede” where festival goers were being trampled. The government has not released an official death toll, but Oromo activist Jawar Mohamed is quoted as saying nearly 300 people. However, Reuters currently places the death toll at 50 people.
There have been several protests in the Oromiya province over the last two years between the government and Oromo activists. Originally catalyzed by land disputes, protests have turned more broadly towards the government, criticizing the lack of political freedoms.
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