Renewed protests in Ethiopia underline need to investigate after dozens killed at Irrecha Festival

Fresh protests in Ethiopia since dozens of protesters were killed in a stampede at a religious festival on 2 October underline the need for the Ethiopian government to ensure a full investigation into how the protest was handled, said Amnesty International today.

Protests have broken out in the capital Addis Ababa, as well as in the Oromia and Amhara regions, since the deadly stampede at a large-scale traditional ceremony in the town of Bishoftu on Sunday. Protest groups blame the tragedy on security agents firing live bullets and tear gas into the massive crowd assembled in a confined space, a charge the government has denied.

“We have documented multiple complaints of police using excessive force, including lethal force, against largely peaceful protesters since demonstrations began in the Oromia region in November last year,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The law enforcement agencies must immediately end all unlawful use of force against protesters. The government, meanwhile, has an obligation to ensure prompt, thorough, impartial, transparent and effective investigations, particularly into deaths during protests. This should include what role government forces played in Bishoftu, as well as how Ethiopian security forces manage public protests in general.”

It is critical that an investigation be held to unearth the truth and to identify law enforcement officers criminally responsible, and hold them to account in open and fair trials
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

The government has put the death toll from the stampede at 52, while protest groups say the number is much higher. They also say that some of their colleagues died of gunshot wounds inflicted by the security forces.

“Given the contradictory accounts, it is critical that an investigation be held to unearth the truth and to identify law enforcement officers criminally responsible, and hold them to account in open and fair trials,” said Michelle Kagari

“In the meantime, the authorities must exercise restraint to prevent further bloodshed.”

Background

The Oromo protests began in opposition to the Addis Ababa Masterplan, which aimed to extend the administrative boundaries of the capital Addis Ababa into parts of Oromia, which many Oromo feared would lead to mass displacement of people from their homes. The masterplan was scrapped in January but the protests have continued.

 

See more at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/10/ethiopia-renewed-protests-underline-need-to-investigate-after-dozens-killed-in-stampede/

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Irreechaa: Color & Treasure of Oromo

Thank you so much Amensisa Ifa for the wonderful job you have done to promote Irreechaa. This documentry is the first of its kind that I have seen that attempts to bring Irreecha, The Thanks Giving Day, celeberated every year by millions of Oromos at Hora Arsedi in Bishoftu to the attention of the world.

Very little attention has been given to this colourful celeberation that we find nowhere in the world but Oromia. The media in the country that claim to be the voice of diversity (EBC, for example) have purposely ignored Irreecha though it deserves a live coverage, promotion and apprecaition. TV Oromiya, which is owned and operated by Oromia Regional state has done less than what is expected from it in promoting Irreechaa. This year what OBS TV did was very encouraging as its journalists followed the whole event and helped us see it at our homes.

Here comes, your documentry which I really liked watching because it is produced in such a way that it gives the picture of Irreecha to those who don’t know about it. We need to do a lot of promotion work as Irreecha has been nominated by UNESCO to be inscribed as the world intangible cultural heritage along with the Gada system. As an Oromo, I am very much proud of you, my brother, as you have set an example to all of us and we have learnt a lot from you.I hope that you will keep on doing what you are doing now. We will be on your side as this is not only your responsiblity; it is also our responsiblity to promote our culture, develop our language and rewrite our history. VIVA Amensisa Ifa!!RESPECT YOU!https: