Five killed by police at religious festival

WADIYA –  At least five people have been killed in northern Ethiopia after security forces fired on a crowd at a religious festival who were reportedly shouting anti-government slogans.  Many more people were injured in the incident in the town of Wadiya. A group of angry protesters have blocked roads and businesses are closed.

In the past three years, there have opposition demonstration in Ethiopia. Hundreds of activists were released from jail on Wednesday. The deaths took place during the second day of Epiphany, when Orthodx Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus. Reports say dozens of people are receiving treatment in hospital after the shooting.

The protesters have been calling for the political and economic reforms and an end to state corruption and human rights abuse in Ethiopia. Counted among the suspects released from detention on Wednesday was prominent opposition leader Merera Gudina, who spend over a year in detention.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made an announcement that the government would close Maekelawi- a detention facility in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly used as a torture chamber- at the beginning of January.

The government of Ethiopia imposed a state of emergency from October 2016 to August 2017 to put an end to an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule. Over 11,000 people were arrested, most were from the Oromia and Amhara regions, where many people complain of political and economic marginalisation.

Photo Credits – East Africa Monitor

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