More than 50 people were killed after police in Ethiopia fired bullets and tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival in the country’s Oromia region.
The incident occurred during the latest demonstration in an 11-month campaign by people in Oromia and Amhara against perceived government repression and the dominance of the minority Tigray ethnic group in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.
The Oromia regional government said 52 people had been killed in the chaos on Sunday after thousands gathered at the Irreecha festival in Bishoftu, a town close to the capital Addis Ababa.
It blamed “evil acts masterminded by forces who are irresponsible” for the deaths and absolved the security forces of blame. But the Oromo Federalist Congress, an opposition group, said the toll was probably much higher; some activists pull it at several hundred.