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Vol 57 No 6

Published 18th March 2016


Oromia erupts

Mass protests in Oromia have escalated into a major challenge to the government, which shows no sign of compromise

Unrest in Oromia flared last November, and then died away. Many thought it a flash in the pan, but this February protests re-ignited across the region. The spark came in a rural patch of the West Arsi District, when guests travelling home after a wedding played an Oromo resistance song. Security officers told them to switch it off. After that, the details are fuzzy, as is the case with so many recent clashes in rural areas. Civilians and police reportedly died in the incident. Demonstrations spread quickly to neighbouring towns and throughout the region, channelling widespread frustration and anger with the government, which many locals regard as a dictatorship run by the Tigray People's Liberation Front. The TPLF is supposedly an equal party with others that represent the major ethnic groups and regions of the country within the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), but it does have a strong position in politics and dominates security.

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