Ethiopia: 3 Protesters killed, several injured in a clash with the Police

Update: The death toll has risen to three, HornAffairs’ sources confirmed. Details are not accessible as officials and medics are under an apparent gag order. (Dec. 20):

[Original news below]

At least one died and several injured in Bahirdar, the capital of Amhara region, after protestors clashed with police on Friday.

The incident was triggered by a road expansion works on Mulualem Street which will eat into the enclosures in western side – including a green area, Mulualem Conference Hall and the “Mesqel Square”, where Orthodox Christians’ celebrate the Founding of the True Cross for about a decade.

The rumor in the city, however, was that the area was being leased for an investor, HornAffairs learnt from two city residents.Bahirdar city - Mesqel Square and the clash area

Leaflets were circulated in the vicinity, at least as of Thursday, urging Christians to stand for their religion and the scheme to annex the land, an eyewitness described.

The protestors started at around Papyrus Hotel, around 9-10am, and marched to St. Giorgis Church, on the shore of Tana lake, then went to Mulualem Street, where they clashed with the police.

HornAffairs learnt from an eyewitness that the clash erupted when the protestors reached a crossroad located few meters away from the City Administration, on the east, and the Mesqel Square, on the south.

A version of the incident suggests the protestors clashed with the police, when the later tried to stop them from reaching Mesqel Square, where it was rumored works were underway.

Another version is that some of the protestors threw stones at the City Administration office which is also on the side of the road.

Gun shots started at around 11 am and continued to be heard until 3-4pm, residents told HornAffairs.

The exact number of causalities remains uncertain as officials were unreachable.

A source in the City Hospital confirmed at least three persons were being treated for serious injuries, insisting that none were bullet injuries.

A Police source, present in the area, on the other hand, disclosed that two civilians were shot. One was hit in the stomach area, while another was described as “seriously wounded”.

The National TV’s late evening news confirmed the death of one, without providing details.

It was not possible to ascertain whether the causalities referred to by the Hospital source, the Police Source and the state TV were different.

Muslim residents were said to have taken part in the protest, though it could be incidental as a major Mosque is found at the very area of the clash and coincided with Friday prayers.


Daniel Berhane

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