Ethiopia’s Oromo protest, demand freedom for jailed leaders

Ethiopia’s Oromo protest, demand freedom for jailed leaders

Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, are protesting against the government and have called for the release of jailed opposition figures as they gathered for their annual Thanksgiving festival of Irreecha

Ethiopia Oromo Festival (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, protested Saturday against the government and called for the release of jailed opposition figures as they gathered in the capital for their annual Thanksgiving festival of Irreecha.

Scores of people in the center of Addis Ababa chanted slogans such as “Down, down Abiy!” a reference to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, after performing ritual ceremonies to mark the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest in Oromia state.

They also chanted support for Oromo opposition politician Jawar Mohammed, who was arrested last year following an outbreak of deadly violence sparked by the death of a popular Oromo singer. He remains behind bars along with several others, accused of terrorism. Activists claim their detention is politically motivated.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended Saturday’s celebrations, which proceeded peacefully despite the protests and amid a heavy security presence. A police spokesman would not comment on any arrests of protesters.

The Oromos have historically expressed frustration at their perceived economic and political marginalisation. Abiy is the country’s first Oromo leader, but he faces growing criticism by some Oromo that he hasn’t done enough for them.

Parts of Oromia have experienced outbreaks of violence in recent years as regional security forces battle a secessionist insurgency there. They have been accused of committing human rights abuses against civilians, including summary executions.

Ahead of last year’s celebrations, hundreds of people were arrested on suspicion of plotting attacks and causing unrest. During the festival in 2016, several dozen worshippers were killed in a crush after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-government protesters.


  1. A glaring error of facr in an otherwise Ok report by an AP journo!

    Abiy is as Oromo as an Italian is a French man, or a Japanese is a Korean! The fact that the man speaks the Oromo language does not make him an Oromo: there were SS Agents who spoke Yiddish FLUENTLY; but you can not claim they were Jewish, now, would you? This Journ also shows the level of his ignorance of the cause of the REBELLION in Oromo Country, by mischaracterizing the Oromo question as one of mere complaint “by some Oromos” against Abiy,” because these “some Oromos” feel “Abiy has not done enough for them!”

    Over all, this factual errors by this journalist are an indicator of how washed out the profession of Journalism has become! I doubt it that a Ted Koppel, or a Peter Jennings would have EVER made such an egregious error in their reporting, some twenty years ago!

  2. None of the readers here on Kichuu will ever guess what my Irish friend calls Associated Press: Asinine Parish!

    Here is one of their journos trying his earnest best to tell us, between the lines, that the Oromo are ‘complaining’ too much against this “Oromo” Prime Minster, “the first in the history of the Empire, blah blah,blah!”

    I wish this journo could get, at least, one FACT correct! Abiy Ahmed is NOT an Oromo genetically or otherwise! He is the a progeny of a cross breeding between an Eritrean Father and An Amhara mother!

    As sad as it sounds, I have to agree with the assessment of some serious Media Watchers today: Journalism is a domain of ACTIVISTS AND MOUTHPIECES rather than an occupation for ‘seekers of truth!’

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