Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ethiopian Prime Minister blames US-based government dissenters for protests

(Sep 22, 2016, (Mail & Guardian Africa))--Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has blamed the United States-based “dissenters” for being behind Olympic medallist Feyisa Lilesa’s protest at the Rio de Janeiro Games, the Foreign reported.

According to reports, Lilesa held his arms in an “X” as he crossed the finish line in protest against government’s crackdown on political dissent. The marathon runner finished second in the final at the recent Olympic games in Rio, thus earning a silver medal for his country.

Demonstrations in Ethiopia began popping up in November 2015 in the Oromia region, which surrounded the capital. This was over a government plan to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa. The region’s Oromo people feared their farmland would be seized, and though the authorities soon dropped the urban enlargement project and brutally suppressed the protests, they badly misjudged the anger it triggered.

The protests have since swept across other parts of Oromia, and more recently to the northern Amhara region, causing disquiet in the corridors of power of a key US ally and crucial partner in east Africa’s fight against terrorism.

Human rights investigations
The Chicago Tribune reported that critics of Ethiopia’s human rights investigations say the government was in a habit of deflating numbers in order to cover up abuses taking place at the hands of their security services. Read more from Mail & Guardian Africa »

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