Protests in Ethiopia kill eight, injure 80

A still from the video of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa's 2015 hit Maalan Jira

Three people were killed and others were critically injured when protests erupted in Ethiopia on Tuesday after a prominent singer from the country's largest ethnic group was shot dead, a doctor said.

There was also heavy violence in the town of Adama, with victims reporting they had been shot by security forces, said Dr. Desalegn Fekadu, a surgeon at the Adama Hospital.

The singer was a former political prisoner who became a national figure during anti-government protests that led to Abiy, a fellow Oromo, becoming prime minister in 2018.

"The authorities should immediately lift the countrywide blanket internet shutdown and allow people to access information and to freely mourn the musician", Jackson said. "We grew up together, but they killed him today with knives ... he doesn't know anything about politics", he said.

Di police say na unknown gunmen kill am on di evening of 29 June and say dem still dey torchlight di killing, wey happun just outside di capital, Addis Ababa.

A prominent Oromo opponent of Abiy, media tycoon Jawar Mohammed, was arrested on Tuesday - a TV station he owns said - after his bodyguards refused to disarm. "Afterwards, they broke down the gates and entered the headquarters and killed an Oromia police officer who had been in the line of duty", the police commissioner explained. "Hachalu, the blood you shed won't be in vain", they chanted. Most had been shot but some had been beaten or stabbed.

Thousands took to the streets of Addis Ababa on Tuesday (June 30) to escort the body of a murdered singer to his home town. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the pictures or video.

In the Oromo city of Harar, pictures appeared to show demonstrators pulling down and beheading a statue of former emperor Haile Selassie's father.


Telecoms across the country have also been shut down, a step authorities have taken in the past at times of political unrest.

NetBlocks, an organization that tracks global internet shutdowns, said the shutdown began around 9:00 a.m. local time and that it was the most severe for the past year.

Mr Abiy called for calm following the killing of the musician whose political songs were the soundtrack of the protest movement that propelled the prime minister to power two years ago.

What were the Oromo protests about?

They would have been the first electoral test for Mr Abiy after he came to power in April 2018.

Abiy ushered in greater political and economic freedoms in what had always been one of the continent's most repressive states, and won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

Haacaaluu was an Oromo activist, a member of Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, which has a long history of being discriminated against.

Elections were scheduled for August but were postponed until next year due to COVID-19.

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