Anti-government protesters have remobilised in the northern Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar on Sunday to continue the nationwide demonstration that was marked by violence on Saturday in the capital Addis Ababa and the northern regions of Amhara and Oromia.
There are reports of heavy gunfire in the city which is also the capital of the Amhara region.
— ECADF Ethiopian News (@ECADF) August 7, 2016
At least seven people were killed during Saturday’s clashes with the police in the Oromia region while dozens of protesters calling for a regime change in Ethiopia have been arrested, AFP reports.
Erupting in the capital for the first time, hundreds of chanting protesters tried to access the historic Meskel square in downtown Addis Ababa resulting in violence as police tried to stop them.
Video images showed police beat up the protesters while dozens were arrested.
The actual number of casualties nationwide cannot be confirmed due to the cut in internet connectivity in most parts of the country.
The protesters accuse the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) led government affiliated to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of marginalising the poor largest northern regions of Amhara and Oromia. They also demand the release of arrested activists.
“This is a mass civil disobedience movement that is not being organized by political parties. People are tired of this regime and express their anger everywhere,” a popular Ethiopian opposition figure and chairman of the Oromo People’s Congress, Merera Gudina, told AFP.
On Friday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced the ban on demonstrations and authorized the police to use all necessary means to prevent them.