Activists from the Oromia Muslim Community in Ethiopia have rejected claims by the Ethiopian Government that the cause of a 'stampede' which is alleged to have killed 52 people was ‘pre-planned.’
Speaking at a television address the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn praise the efforts that had been made to protect the public and blamed ‘evil forces’ for the deaths and vowed to bring justice to those responsible.
Thousands had gathered for a religious festival in Bishoftu, 25 miles from the capital Addis Ababa and some reports say the police responded after anti-government protesters threw stones and bottles but the demonstrators say the protest was entirely peaceful.
There were reports from Oromo eyewitness that up to 400 people have been killed and many more have been injured. One eyewitness speaking to ‘Muslim Eye’ said that he saw over a hundred dead bodies on 'ice' at the hospital.
The protestors also say that helicopter gunships had opened fire driving people off a cliff and into a lake.
Crowds and Sundays or roll mole festival which attracted 2 million people chanted ‘we need freedom’ and ‘we need justice’. Ethiopian activists from all over the world have contacted ‘Muslim Eye’ to condemned the violence against the innocent protestors.
The unrest was sparked last November when I plan to expand the capital into Oromia. This led to fears that farmers from the Oromo ethnic group would be displaced.
The plan was later dropped but protests continued, highlighting issues such as marginalisation and human rights.
Running from Ethiopia: The Oromo Exodus
Feyisa Lilesa completed the marathon at the Rio Olympics with his arms raised in a gesture of defiance against the Ethiopian government. For many this was their first glimpse of the trouble brewing in this largely peaceful East African country.
But protests over land rights and political exclusion have been gathering momentum for almost a year, especially amongst the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo. A government crackdown has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 500 protesters.
Running from Ethiopia tells the story of Muaz, a student who fled Ethiopia after being detained and tortured by security forces, and Jawar, who runs a popular Oromo TV channel from exile in Minneapolis. Jawar’s channel closely followed the story of Muaz as he made the treacherous journey to Europe, only to be caught in one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks of 2016.