No fewer than100 people were killed over the weekend in protests organized in different parts of Ethiopia.
Reports from Amnesty International reveals that 67 people died when “security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters” in different towns and cities in the Oromo region over the weekend.”
The demonstrators were protesting a government attempt (now aborted) to commandeer farmlands in the region surrounding the capital for development. The government proposed the expansion of the territorial limits of the capital, Addis Ababa, into the neighboring Oromo lands.
The widespread dissatisfaction with the Ethiopian government can be found predominantly within the Oromo ethnic group, the country’s largest ethnic group, which has been marginalized and oppressed by the Amharas, the second largest ethnic group, who make up the country’s elite.
Amnesty International stated that the deadliest incident took place on Sunday, in Bahir Dar, where 30 people were killed and that security forces were reacting to violence from protestors.
According to the government-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC), The Ethiopian government blamed “nearby and distant foreign enemies and social media activists” for defying warnings about holding unauthorized protests.
The authorities said that the demonstrators were destroying government and private property and “inflicting deaths on innocent citizens” and arrests were made as people were trying to spread the violence, FBC adds.
A diplomat confirmed that 49 people were killed with Nekemte, a town in western Ethiopia and Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara region.
The diplomat disguised the protests as “low level,” “quite disorganized” and “scattered all around”
He stated, “The brutal response of the government risks provoking more anger and making it worse.”
The threat of displacement was what triggered this wave of protests, but protests have been going on in the country in recent months.