Ethiopia: Police must face immediate investigation after five protesters shot dead - Amnesty

Ethiopia: Police must face immediate investigation after five protesters
shot dead

Amnesty Press Release

Amnesty International today called on the Ethiopian authorities to
thoroughly and effectively investigate the violent dispersal of
demonstrators by police in Addis Ababa in which five people were shot dead.
Today’s deaths follow a weekend of ethnic clashes in which more than 58
people were killed.

The demonstrators had taken to the streets of the Ethiopian capital to
protest government inaction over ethnically motivated clashes that also
wounded and displaced dozens of people. It was the latest incident in a
spate of ethnic unrest that has killed hundreds of people and forced 1.5
million more to flee their homes in the past year.

The ethnic violence followed the return of exiled leaders of the once
outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which had fought for
self-determination of the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. Their
return was marked by a mass rally of supporters, some of whom violently
attacked non-Oromo groups, in particular the Guraghe and Gamo living in
Burayu District, in the special Oromia zone encircling Addis Ababa,
resulting in death and forced displacement of non-Oromo communities.

Amnesty observed that social media was awash with hate speech against
non-Oromo groups in the three days preceding the rally. However, the
security forces did nothing to stop the incitement to violence, or to
protect targeted communities despite their repeated pleas for help.

Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty’s Director for East Africa, said:

“There is no excuse for the use of lethal force against people who are
peacefully protesting. The authorities must leave no stone unturned to
identify and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for these
senseless deaths. The first step is to order an investigation into the
conduct of the police force.

“The authorities must explain why they failed to respond to people’s
distress calls and then shot dead peaceful protesters.

“No one should die because of their ethnicity and neither should anyone
die because they took a stand against the shocking violence and killings
that the authorities failed to prevent.”

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