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.
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.
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
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
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