Ethiopia: German Chancellor Merkel Visits Amid State of Emergency — Global migration crisis, Human rights are on the agenda — Ethiopia is the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa

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According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed by Ethiopian security forces during anti-government protests carried out by the Oromo people since November 2015. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press briefing with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after her arrival at Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press briefing with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after her arrival at Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)  (The Associated Press)

By ELIAS MESERET, ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 11, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Ethiopia, where her meeting on Tuesday with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to focus on the country’s newly declared state of emergency and other issues including migration.

This East African country, one of Africa’s best-performing economies, declared its first state of emergency in a quarter-century on Sunday, after months of protests demanding wider freedoms.

Merkel’s African tour, with stops earlier this week in Mali and Niger, is meant to highlight the global migration crisis and discuss security issues. Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest hosts of refugees, with hundreds of thousands arriving from nearby Somalia, South Sudan and elsewhere.

German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer has said Merkel will also “of course clearly address human rights” in Ethiopia.

The deaths of more than 50 people last week in a stampede after police tried to disperse protesters led to a week of more demonstrations. One American was killed in a rock attack.

Several people were killed in a stampede in Bishoftu, near the Ethiopian capital on October 2 after police fired tear gas at protesters during an Oromo religious festival. AFP photo

At least 400 people have been killed in anti-government protests over the past year, human rights groups and opposition activists have said. The protesters have been demanding more freedoms from a government that has been accused of being increasingly authoritarian.

On Monday, Ethiopia’s president announced during a Parliament session that the country’s election law would be amended to accommodate more political parties and opposing views.

But the country’s internet service continues to be largely blacked out after last week’s unrest, which included the targeting and burning of both foreign and local businesses over suspected ties to the government.

The United States and others have called on the government to use restraint against protesters, and the U.N. human rights office has asked for access to allow independent observers into the troubled Oromia region.

Related:

Peaceful protesters in Ethiopia, October 2, 2016 before the police used tear gas and rubber bullets which resulted in a stampede that killed 54 people. Reuters

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, 2 October 2016.

Many said the demonstrators were protesting peacefully about political and economic marginalisation on Sunday, before the police used tear gas and rubber bullets which resulted in a stampede that killed 54 people. Reuters

 Ethiopia protest before the stampede, October 2, 2016
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Ethiopia stampede: ‘At least 50 killed’ after police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters
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Stampede caused by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets

By Samuel Osborne

Sunday 2 October 2016

ethiopia-protest.jpg

Protesters run from tear gas launched by security personnel during the Irecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, 2 October, 2016 Reuters

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Dozens of people have been killed in a stampede in Ethiopia after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival.

The opposition party said at least 50 people had died.

An estimated two million people were attending the annual Irrecha event in Bishoftu town, 40km south east of the capital Addis Ababa.

The festival took place in Oromia, one of the country’s most sensitive regions, which has seen several months of sometimes deadly protests demanding wider freedoms.

ethiopia-protest2.jpg

Demonstrators show the Oromo protest gesture sign during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, 2 October, 2016 (Reuters)

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Crowds reportedly chanted “we need freedom” and “we need justice”, preventing community elders, deemed close to the government, from delivering their speeches at the festival.

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Some protesters waved the red, green and yellow flag of the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group branded a “terrorist” organisation by the government.

Reports say some threw rocks and plastic bottles, leading police to respond by using tear gas and firing rubber bullets.

The fleeing crowd created a stampede, with some plunging into a deep ditch, witnesses told Reuters.

Ethiopia’s government acknowledged the deaths and released a statement to say many people had been taken to hospital.

“As a result of the chaos, lives were lost and several of the injured were taken to hospital,” the government communications office said in a statement, without giving figures.

“Those responsible will face justice.”

UN calls for release of missing protesters in Ethiopia
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Merera Gudina, chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, told Reuters at least 50 people were killed.

He said the government tried to use the event to show Oromia was calm. “But residents still protested,” he added.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed by Ethiopian security forces during anti-government protests carried out by the Oromo people since November 2015. 

Last year, human rights groups said up to 50 protesters were killed in a government crack down on protests.

Ethiopian silver medalist marathoner Feyisa Lilesa made an anti-government gesture when he crossed the finish line at the Rio Olympics, in a show of solidarity with the Oromo protests.

He has not returned to the country since, saying his life could be in danger.

Additional reporting by agencies

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ethiopia-stampede-killed-dead-protesters-oromia-police-tear-gas-rubber-bullets-a7341741.html

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One Response to “Ethiopia: German Chancellor Merkel Visits Amid State of Emergency — Global migration crisis, Human rights are on the agenda — Ethiopia is the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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