What does the deadly response to the Oromo and Amhara demonstrations mean for the country’s future?
Dozens are dead and many more injured in Ethiopia after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters last weekend. In the latest round of protests, thousands took to the streets across Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara regions to fight against what they say is the marginalisation of the two largest ethnic groups in the country, the Oromo and Amhara.
The Oromo protests first began in November 2015 after the Ethiopian government introduced the “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan.” Officials say it was an economic and infrastructure initiative, but activists argue it would have displaced many Oromos living in towns and villages close to the capital city. Over the course of the next several months at least 400 people were killed and thousands arrested for their involvement in anti-government demonstrations, according to Human Rights Watch. The government eventually cancelled the Master Plan, but the movement continues. And last month, the country’s second largest ethnic group, the Amhara, joined the protests in solidarity with the Oromos. They are calling on the government to address similar political and economic grievances that they have.
Tension between the Ethiopian government and the Oromos and the Amhara has been growing. In the run up to this weekend’s demonstrations Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced a ban on the protests saying they “threaten national unity”. But critics say the government’s moves are intended to control dissent. Desalegn says his government will continue to make efforts to address the concerns of the protesters.
We’ll discuss the latest developments at 19:30 GMT.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Getachew Reda @getachewkreda
Communications Affairs Minister
Chairman, Oromo Federalist Congress
Fetsum Berhane @fetsum1
Najat Hamza @najathamza6
Activist, Oromo Community of Minnesota
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