Ethiopia: Stop the use of deadly force on protesters
14 August 2020
(Amnesty International) — Following the killing of at least 16 people following protests over the arrest of zonal officials, community leaders and activists by Ethiopian security officers in the Wolaita Zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPR) since 9 August, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:
People took to the streets on 9 August after Ethiopia’s Defence Forces arrested more than 20 officials of the Wolaita Zone, as well as community leaders and activists, allegedly for holding a meeting in contravention of COVID-19 measures.
According to multiple witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International, security forces beat up and shot at protesters and bystanders while trying to disperse the protest. A homeless boy was killed in Wolaita-Soddo city on 9 August as the security forces violently cleared people off the streets following the arrests. Seven more people were killed in Bodditi on 10 August, including a 14-year old boy, footballer Getahun Ashenafi and a woman with a mental disability.
According to government sources, at least 16 people have been killed to date as protests continue. Two witnesses told Amnesty International that a woman was killed by security forces on 12 August while on her way to shop for groceries. Tension remains high due to the heavy deployment of security officers from the police forces, the SNNPR special Liyu police, and the Ethiopian Defence Forces.
Medical sources told Amnesty International that 18 injured people have been admitted to Soddo Christian Hospital in Wolaita, some of them to the Intensive Care Unit.