Business are shut in the business district of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, as crowds protests against the killing of 23 people in violence which hit the outskirts of the city at the weekend.
The protesters are condemning the violence and demanding that the government do more to protect citizens, especially ethnic minorities who say they have been targeted in the violence.
Thousands of people are taking shelter in schools following the violence in the Oromiya region’s Burayu district, north-west of Addis Ababa.
The violence followed a mass rally in Addis Ababa on Saturday to welcome the leadership of the exiled Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
The OLF had waged a rebellion for the self-determination of the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. Its leadership returned after President Abiy Ahmed lifted a ban on the group.
“Mobs of ethnic Oromo youth then marched here in Ashwa Meda and attacked our homes and looted businesses chanting ‘leave our land’,” Hassan Ibrahim, a trader in an ethnically diverse part of the district, told Reuters news agency.
Alemayehu Ejigu, the head of Oromiya region’s police commission, confirmed that 23 people had been killed.
More than 70 people had been arrested in connection with the violence, he added, Reuters reports.
“They (the attackers) do not represent anyone – they had no reason other than theft. Anyone has the constitutional right to reside in Oromiya or anywhere,” he was quoted as saying.
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