Protesters Killed by Ethiopian Police during Unrest

More than 100 people were killed in August by police and security forces in the most violent week of protests to date in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Thousands had gathered for anti-government protests organized by two of the largest ethnic communities in the country against alleged human rights abuses. The police responded with tear gas and fired live ammunition into the air to disperse the crowds, but by many accounts they also fired directly on protesters.

The protests are part of a wider season of unrest that began in November 2015 in response to a government plan to build into the Oromia region. This led to fears from farmers and members of the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, that they would be displaced. Their protests gained the support of many in the Amhara ethnic group, the second largest in the country. The government plans were eventually dropped but the protests continued over other instances of marginalization and human rights abuses.

The government has clamped down on protests; demonstrations have been banned and social media blocked. Over 500 people have been killed by police and security forces throughout the year, according to Human Rights Watch. The governing party has rejected a United Nations request to send in international observers, despite the fact that Ethiopia is a close ally of many western nations. The unrest continues.

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