According to media reports, authorities have blocked internet access in the capital Addis Ababa since Tuesday, September 18, in response to violent protests, which resulted in five fatalities in Addis Ababa the day prior. The state telecom company has declined to comment on the shutdown and no information has been reported regarding how long the cut is expected to last (as of Tuesday). Tensions remain high in the capital and its surroundings and further violence is possible in the coming days.
Protests broke out in Addis Ababa on September 17 to denounce recent intercommunal violence in the Oromia region. 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 also protested September 16 in front of the national ETV broadcaster, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
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 Ethiopian flag. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds. On September 13, similar protests also took place, with people erecting roadblocks, throwing stones, and burning public property in some neighborhoods of the capital.
Individuals in Addis Ababa are advised to monitor the situation, make alternative arrangements for communications during the internet outage, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution. They should also anticipate an increased security presence and traffic disruption and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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