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News update

Ethiopia’s security forces use tear gas to disperse protests – witness

Policemen attempt to control protesters chanting slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016.
Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopian security forces used tear gas and blocked roads in the capital Addis Ababa and other major towns on Saturday to try to quell protests against alleged rights abuses, a Reuters witness and residents said.

The Horn of Africa country’s Oromiya region has seen months of demonstrations over plans to incorporate some of its territory into the capital as part of an expansion scheme.

The plans were scrapped after intense resistance from residents, but protesters are continuing to demonstrate against alleged abuses and for the release of people arrested during the campaign.

In Addis Ababa hundreds of people holding placards gathered at Meskel Square in the center of the city before police dispersed them, a Reuters witness said.

Protests also took place in the towns of Ambo and Woliso in Oromiya, where large crowds gathered early on Saturday before soldiers blockaded roads and began to shoot in the air, witnesses said.

“We have rights but they are consistently violated by this government,” one protester told Reuters by phone from Ambo.

“They jail everyone who opposes them. All prisoners should be released.”

A witness told Reuters that one demonstrator was shot in Ambo as police tried to quell the unrest.

A student at Ambo University said hundreds of people marched to the town’s center waving opposition flags and chanting anti-government slogans, before police and soldiers dispersed the crowd by firing in the air and using tear gas.

Read more at Reuters

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