Police in Ethiopia's Oromiya region fire warning shots and tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters, triggering a stampede that opposition leaders say killed at least 50 people. Diane Hodges reports.
It started as an annual religious festival to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday of Ethiopia's Oromo people... in the town of Bishoftu south of the capital Addis Ababa. But it turned into a protest against the government, with crowds preventing community elders, who are deemed close to the ruling coalition, from delivering their speeches at the festival. And when police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the demonstrators, it turned into a stampede. Witnesses say some members of the crowd plunged into a deep ditch. Opposition leaders said at least 50 people were killed. The government didn't give a precise death toll, saying only that "lives were lost" and some were injured. The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front blames rebel groups and dissidents abroad for stirring up protests like this one, which flared in 2014. But the opposition accuses the government suppressing political opposition and clamping down on free speech.