Ethiopia: Unrest continues a day after deadly stampede

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Demonstrators have clashed with police in central
Ethiopia a day after a deadly stampede at a
religious festival that started when police fired tear
gas and warning shots.

Protesters blocked roads in several towns in the
Oromia region on Monday as the Ethiopian
government declared three days of mourning to
ease tensions in the region after at least 52 people
were killed in Sunday’s chaos.

Witnesses said many people were crushed and
others fell into ditches as they tried desperately to
escape the police. Shoes and clothing littered the
scene of the disaster, as a small group of angry
residents dug for bodies in a deep ditch.
“We’re digging because people are buried inside
the ditch. Fifty-two dead is a lie,” Dagafa Dame,
one of the diggers, told AFP news agency.
Oromo activists called for “five days of rage” after
the stampede.

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Clashes between security forces and protesters
continued Monday morning in Bishoftu and Ambo,
an Ethiopian government official and witnesses told
The Associated Press.
“Some people tried to come out en masse this
morning to protest the deaths of holiday-goers on
Sunday and also demand the release of people
arrested during the celebrations,” said Nimona
Negash, a tuk-tuk driver in Bishoftu, where the
disaster occurred.
“Today’s protesters were peaceful but dispersed by
police violently. I’m not aware of any deaths this
morning, but it was violent. But I’m aware of live
bullets used this morning in other vicinities of this
town.”

Negash said family members of people who died in
Sunday’s stampede and others looking for their
loved ones were flocking to Bishoftu, 45km south
of the capital Addis Ababa, creating tension there.
He said he heard some 200 people had been
arrested.
“I went to the place where the accident happened
this morning, and I’ve seen people being pulled
out,” he said. “More and more people are coming
out of a deep ditch. I saw seven bodies being
pulled out then left the scene as I was unable to
watch more.”

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