UNREST IN ETHIOPIA RESULTS IN DEATHS AND ARRESTS

Source: Brookings Education

Unrest
People gather to protest against the treatment of Ethiopia’s ethnic Oromo group, outside Downing Street in London, Britain, July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Over the past two weeks in Ethiopia, at least 239 have been killed and 3,500 arrested in unrest following the murder of popular musician and activist Hachalu Hundessa on June 29. It is as yet unknown why Hachalu, who was prominent in anti-government protests that led current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018, was murdered.

Violence primarily took place in Oromia region, where 215 civilians, nine police officers, and five militia members were killed, and in Addis Ababa, where 10 were killed. Among those arrested was Jawar Mohammed, a well-known Oromo activist and opposition politician; Human Rights Watch has warned that the arrest of opposition figures “could make a volatile situation even worse.”

Abiy responded to the violence by deploying police and military forces and blocking access to the internet across the country. Abiy has also stated that the unrest will not derail plans to start filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam this month. These plans have angered Egypt and Sudan, who argue that the dam, located on the Blue Nile River, will limit their countries’ access to an important source of fresh water.

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