Hundreds of protesters gathered on Monday, September 17, in the capital Addis Ababa, - at Meskel Square, near the prime minister's office (Menelik Palace), the offices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and in front of the offices of the broadcaster ETV - to protest against intercommunal violence that occurred in recent days in the Oromia region, including in Addis Ababa and its surroundings. Protesters on Monday reportedly blocked some roads leading out of the capital. Police forces eventually dispersed the crowds, reportedly injuring two people. Some businesses remain close as of Monday afternoon (local time) and public transportation services are unavailable. Further protests are likely in the coming days.
Youths believed to be Oromo nationalists from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) carried out attacks in the localities of Burayu and Ashewa Meda (Oromia region) September 15-16, killing at least 23 people and prompting scores of residents to flee. Addis Ababa residents protested September 16 in front of the national ETV broadcaster, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice; tensions were reportedly also high in some areas in the north of the capital. On September 12, OLF supporters demonstrated in the capital, chanting in the local Oromo language, raising the OLF flag, and painting the flag on walls throughout the city. Protesters also reportedly tried to burn the Ethiopia flag. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. On September 13, similar protests again took place, with people erecting roadblocks, throwing stones, and burning objects in some neighborhoods of the capital.
The OLF seeks self-determination for the Oromo people and OLF rebels have fought an insurgency against Ethiopia since the 1970s. The OLF declared a unilateral ceasefire on July 5, 2018, after the Ethiopian parliament rescinded its designation of the OLF as a terrorist organization, and peace deal was signed on August 7. Following the peace deal, the OLF agreed to conduct its political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means.
Individuals in Addis Ababa are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, anticipate an increased security presence and traffic disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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