Ethiopia: Clashes at rally to mourn Christians killed by ISIL in Libya

April 23rd, 2015 Print Print Email Email

Clashes erupted as tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered to denounce the mass murder of compatriots by ISIL extremists.

Wednesday’s government-organised rally in the capital came amid three days of national mourning for some 30 Ethiopian Christians beheaded or shot, on video, by militants in Libya.

“We will not bow down to terrorism!” one placard carried by a young boy said. Another read: “The world must be united against terrorism.”

But many demonstrators in Addis Ababa were also angry that the jobless feel they must travel to places like Libya in the hope of reaching Europe.

“Ethiopians migrate because we want a better life,” said one protester, Daniel Dawit, who knew some of the victims.

“There are Ethiopian people who have degrees and diplomas but can’t find work here. Ethiopians don’t want to migrate. The situation forces them to.”

Security was tight but frustration at poverty and unemployment erupted among the crowd and riot police lashed out with batons. At least 100 people were reported arrested.

Accused of clamping down on free speech, Ethiopia’s government dismisses accusations from rights groups that it stifles critics and opponents.

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