Addis Abeba, Oct. 11/2017 – At least eight people were killed and more than 30 wounded during fresh protests that hit several cities and towns across the Oromia regional state today, according to Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia government communication affairs bureau.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Addisu Arega said that five people were killed during a protest rally in Shashemene town, 250 km south east of Addis Abeba, in west Arsi zone of the Oromia regional state. He also said that three more people were killed in Bookeeti town, west Hararghe zone of the Oromia region in eastern Ethiopia, where more than 30 were also wounded, according to Addisu Arega.
In a security alert issued by the US Embassy in Addis Abeba, the embassy cautioned US citizens of “violent protests and road closures in and around Shashamane.” It also said there were”reports of causalities” and alerted US citizens to “avoid travel to Shashamane at this time.”
Additional protests were also held in Ambo, 125 km west of Addis Abeba and one of the epicenters of the 2014-2016 Oromo protests. A video received by Addis Standard, which we later on verified, show that thousands of young protesters marching through the city chanting “down, down Woyane” in reference to TPLF, the all too powerful member of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, EPRDF.
However, the protests, which lasted for more than three hours, went peaceful. Some pictures show the regional state police force in the midst of the protesting youth with no sign of hostilities.
Furthermore, according to DW Amharic, more protests were held in Dodola town, some 70 km east of Shashemene in West Arsi zone. DW reported that members of the police, city administration officials, the youth and ordinary city residents have all taken part in the protest. Protesters were also chanting messages of support, among others, for jailed prominent Oromo opposition party leaders including Dr. Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba, two senior members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and who are among the more than 25 senior and junior leadership of the party currently in jail. They were also chanting message of resolve regarding the ownership status of Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa cities, according to DW.