Security forces arrested five senior members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) party in the capital Addis Abbaba on Monday, July 6, following last weeks protests sparked over the murder of a popular Oromo singer. It is not clear why the arrests were made or where those arrested were taken. Reports also indicate that members of other parties were arrested following the protests, including the chairman of the opposition Ethiopian National Movement Party who was arrested on Friday, July 3.
Despite widespread protests last week, the situation in the capital has been calm since July 3; however, a nationwide internet blackout remained in effect on Monday for a seventh consecutive day.
A heightened security presence should be expected in Addis Abbaba in the immediate term.
Authorities in Ethiopia have stated that at least 156 people were killed in protests that were sparked after the murder of the popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa on June 29. Oromos make up the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. Officials have attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security forces and inter-ethnic violence.
Despite Abiy's appointment as Prime Minister in 2018 and the end of the widespread protest campaigns and a state of emergency in the Oromia region, tensions between the government and the Oromo community have remained high in Addis Ababa. Unrest and clashes between protesters and security forces have repeatedly broken out following the killing or arrest of prominent Oromo activists, amid claims that they are being discriminated against in the capital.
Those in Ethiopia are advised to monitor developments and heed any directives issued by local authorities. All demonstrations and political gatherings in Ethiopia should be avoided due to the high risk of incidental violence and aggressive crowd-dispersal operations by security forces.
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