After singer’s death: Many killed in protests in Ethiopia

The prominent singer Hachalu Hundessa was shot in the capital of Ethiopia on Monday. Since then, unrest has shaken the country and more than 90 people have died. The background is ethnic tensions in the multi-ethnic state.

In Ethiopia, protests after the murder of a popular singer killed at least 91 people within two days.

The musician and activist Hachalu Hundessa, who had campaigned for the Oromo ethnic group, was murdered in the capital Addis Ababa on Monday evening. He was shot in his car and died of his injuries a little later.

After the singer’s death, unrest broke out in several cities – they are an expression of ethnic tensions that flare up again and again in the multi-ethnic state of Ethiopia. There were violent riots, especially in Halacho’s hometown Ambo.

At least 81 people were killed in the Oromia region, the government-affiliated news site Walta Info quoted the police chief of the region. In addition, ten people were killed in Addis Ababa, including two police officers, said the capital’s police chief on state television.

In a hand grenade attack on Halacho’s family, an uncle of the singer was reportedly killed and two police officers injured.

Hachalus burial in Ambo

Hachalu was buried in Ambo today. A small crowd attended the ceremony, as seen on state television.

Previously, Oromo representatives had asked to bury Halachu in the capital Addis Ababa – because historically Addis Ababa was a center of Oromo culture. Several people were arrested in this context – including the well-known opposition politician Jawar Mohammed along with 34 supporters. The former media mogul also belongs to the Oromo ethnic group and, according to police, tried to intercept Halachi’s body and bring it to the capital.

According to Mohammed’s party, security forces in the city of Holeta opened fire on protesters demanding Mohammed’s release.

Human Rights Watch criticizes security forces

In response to the unrest, the Ethiopian government cut all Internet connections in the country on Tuesday – the Internet is also currently switched off in parts of Ethiopia.

The human rights organization Human Rights Watch sharply criticized the behavior of the security forces towards the demonstrators. “The government’s response to the protests has long threatened to exacerbate swelling tensions,” said a statement.

Halachus songs – voice of the Oromo

Halachu has been politically active since his youth and spent several years in prison. His songs, which demanded more rights for the Oromo, had become anthems of the protest movement against the former head of government Hailemariam Desalegn in 2018. The protests finally forced Hailemariam to resign.

His successor, Abiy Ahmed, who is himself Oromo, received the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Nevertheless, the conflicts between the ethnic groups in Ethiopia continue.


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