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Ethiopia: U.S. Embassy speaks on recent protest deaths, lauds security restraint

Ethiopia: U.S. Embassy speaks on recent protest deaths, lauds security restraint

Ethiopia

The United States embassy in Ethiopia has reiterated its belief in the right of Ethiopians to express their views by way of peaceful demonstrations.

In its latest statement regarding Ethiopia’s internal security issues, the U.S. expressed admiration and concern in the same statement issued on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

Admiration for the manner in which Ethiopian government forces have restrained themselves during recent protests in parts of the Oromia region but also concern about the fact that some reports have pointed to deaths and violence.

We are saddened by reports that several recent protests ended in violence and deaths.  All such reports merit transparent investigation that allows those responsible for violence to be held accountable.

Their position titled ‘Statement by the U.S. Embassy’ read as follows:

“The United States sees peaceful demonstrations as a legitimate means of expression and political participation.  We note with appreciation a number of recent events during which demonstrators expressed themselves peacefully, and during which security forces exercised restraint in allowing them to do so.

“We are saddened by reports that several recent protests ended in violence and deaths.  All such reports merit transparent investigation that allows those responsible for violence to be held accountable.

“We encourage all Ethiopians to continue to express their views peacefully, and encourage Ethiopian authorities to permit peaceful expression of views.  More generally, we encourage constructive, peaceful, and inclusive national discourse on matters of importance to Ethiopian citizens.”

Local media portals over the last two weeks have reported of renewed tension across the Oromia region where anti-government sentiments continue to simmer. Federal security agents killed four people last week.

There were a series of protests particularly in the town of Shashamane, about 250km south of the capital, Addis Ababa, leading the U.S. embassy to issue its last security message a week ago.

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