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Ethiopian festival ends in deadly stampede

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Ethiopian festival ends in deadly stampede



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A festival has ended in bloodshed in Ethiopia.

Dozens of people have been killed and injured in a stampede after police confronted ethnic Oromo protesters.

Thousands were attending the annual Irrecha festival which was taking place in Bishoftu in the Oromia region, which has seen several months of sometimes deadly anti-government protests .

People in the crowd held up crossed wrists, a popular gesture of dissent before the stampede happened, others chanted ‘we need freedom’.

The government did not give a precise death toll but confirmed lives were lost, blaming ‘people that prepared to cause trouble’ for the chaos.

The opposition said at least 50 people were killed, while on activist said up to 300 died and many more injured.

Some died as the crowd fled in a panic after security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas, creating a stampede. Some ended up falling into a deep ditch.

Protests in the Oromia province erupted in 2014 over a development plan for the capital which would have expanded its boundaries, a move which was seen to threaten farm land. The government shelved the plan earlier this year.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed by government forces since 2015 as protests by the Oromo people gathered pace over issues of marginalisation and human rights.


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