International human rights group, Amnesty International, says over 60 people were killed and hundreds more sustained injuries in heavy-handed but ‘unsurprising’ response by Ethiopian security forces to protests in the country over the weekend.
In a statement titled ‘’Ethiopia: Dozens killed as police use excessive force against peaceful protesters,“ Amnesty said credible sources had told them that; ‘‘At least 67 people were killed and hundreds more injured when Ethiopian security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters across Oromia region over the weekend.’‘
Thousands of protesters turned out in two regions of the country – Oromia and Amhara – calling for political reform, justice and the rule of law.
The security forces response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising. Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices.
Amnesty however noted that biggest casualty figures – which may amount to extrajudicial killings – took place in the northern city of Bahir Dar where at least 30 people were killed in a day.
The group maintained that even though the response of the security forces was high handed, it was to be expected given the trend of heavily clamping down on protesters since last year.
“The security forces response was heavy-handed, but unsurprising. Ethiopian forces have systematically used excessive force in their mistaken attempts to silence dissenting voices,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Amnesty said, even though there were no deaths reported in the case of protests in the capital, Addis Ababa, videos and photos showed police beating protesters with batons in the main public square, the Meskel Square.
“We are extremely concerned that the use of unofficial detention facilities may expose victims to further human rights violations including torture and other forms of ill-treatment,” said Michelle Kagari.
“All those arrested during the protests must be immediately and unconditionally released as they are unjustly being held for exercising their right to freedom of opinion.”