Tear gas fired to quell Ethiopia protest

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Police have fired tear gas in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to disperse people in the wake of clashes between supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and some residents of the city.

Parts of Addis Ababa’s commercial centre has become a ghost town with business centres, cafes, shops all closed. Police have surrounded the area.

One person died in a confrontation on Wednesday, according to the police. The clashes were sparked by objections to OLF supporters displaying the flag and colours of their movement.

They were also accused of replacing the Ethiopian flag.

The OLF is preparing to welcome its leadership back to the country on Saturday. The group was described as a terrorist organisation but that designation has been dropped as part of reforms brought in by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Mr Abiy, who became prime minister in April, is the country’s first Oromo leader in recent years.

OLF opponents believe that the movement wants to break up Ethiopia, creating a separate Oromo state.

Oromos make up the country’s largest ethnic group and were behind a wave of protests in the last few years which challenged the government’s authority.

There have been reports on local media that clashes have continued in some outlying parts of Addis Ababa.

The prime minister has appeared on state TV to urge the youth to stop fighting over petty differences, adding that the battle over flags could be settled through dialogue.

 

Source: BBC

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