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France and US express concerns over Ethiopia's crackdown on protesters

France and US express concerns over Ethiopia's crackdown on protesters

Ethiopia

France is the latest country to express concern following a bloody crackdown on protesters by Ethiopia’s security forces over the weekend that left nearly 100 people dead.

“France is following with concern the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the events that have taken place in recent days and have caused many casualties. In this context, we call for calm,” a statement released by the French foreign affairs ministry said.

Earlier on Monday, the United States released a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” by the violence and said the people’s rights to demonstrate should be respected.

France is following with concern the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the events that have taken place in recent days and have caused many casualties. In this context, we call for calm.

“The U.S. Embassy expresses its deep condolences to those who suffered as a result of the violence and regrets the damage to livelihoods, economic development, and the social fabric that such violence brings,” the US statement said.

Rights group Amnesty International said security forces fired live bullets at “peaceful protesters” in different towns and cities in the country.

The unrest was sparked last November by a plan to expand the capital into Oromia. This led to fears farmers from the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, would be displaced.

The plan was later dropped but protests continued, highlighting issues such as marginalisation and human rights.

Human Rights Watch says that more than 400 people have been killed in clashes with the security forces in Ethiopia since protests began. The government has however disputed this figure.