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Ethiopia: Oromo Festival Stampede Kills Several in Bishoftu


Several people have been killed in a stampede in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, after police fired tear gas and shots to disperse a protest.

Thousands had gathered for a religious festival in Bishoftu, Oromia region, 25 miles from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

Police responded after anti-government protesters threw stones and bottles, reports said. There was panic and some people fell into a ditch.bishoftu-festival

There have been months of deadly clashes in Ethiopia recently.

People in the Oromia and Amhara regions have complained about political and economic marginalization.

Crowds at October 2 Oromo festival chanted “We need freedom” and “We need justice”, witnesses said.

Some participants crossed their wrists above their heads, a gesture that has become a symbol of Oromo protests.

The government said in a statement that “lives were lost”, adding: “Those responsible will face justice.”

The unrest was sparked in November 2015 by a plan to expand the capital into Oromia. This led to fears that farmers from the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, would be displaced.

The plan was later dropped but protests continued, highlighting issues such as marginalization and human rights.

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