Dozens killed in crackdown on anti-govt protests in Ethiopia

Dozens killed in crackdown on anti-govt protests in Ethiopia

Dozens of people have been killed by security forces in anti-government protests across Ethiopia over the weekend, residents and opposition members said.

Despite the ban imposed by the Ethiopian government on gathering and using social media, protests were organised by the opposition in the capital Addis Ababa against alleged rights abuses.

Demonstrations also took place in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

Although the death toll is yet to be made avaliable, Merera Gudina, the leader of the opposition Oromo People’s Congress, told the AFP news agency that up to 50 people were killed in Oromia.

Amnesty International claimed the death toll was 97, saying that 30 people were killed in Amhara while 67 lost their lives in Oromia.

What is the reason behind Oromia and Amhara protests?

The Ethiopian government has been faced with new waves of protests from the two largest ethnic communities in Oromia and Amhara over alleged human rights abuses in addition to other complaints.

Tensions over the Wolkayt district have led to angry protests in the Amhara region for more than two decades.

Previously the government put the district under the administration of the Tigray regional state.

But the Welkait Amhara Identity Committee demands the land be placed in the Amhara region again.

The committee says people in the district are ethnic Amharas and they dont want to be ruled by Tigrayans.

The latest unrest in the Oromia region has been triggered by a plan to enlarge the Addis Ababa administration into Oromia, which surrounds the capital.

Oromos believe the plan could cause their farmlands to be taken over by the government for the development of the capital city.

Although the plan was dropped, protests are still being held.

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016.

But apart from recent disagreements, analysts say there are some deeper issues behind the unrest.

The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in the country, making up 34 percent of Ethiopia’s 100 million population.

Despite their large presence in society, Oromia’s biggest political party – the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) – has no seats in the national parliament.

Ethnic Oromos are followed by Amharas, who make up 27 percent of the population, according to the CIA World Factbook.

But these two ethnic groups, combined comprising nearly half of Ethiopia’s population, have complained that they have been prevented from participating in the country’s political process and economic circulation.

The opposition complains the top government and military are dominated by the minority Tigrayan ethnic group, who make up around six percent of the total population.