Ethiopian protesters attack factories in Africa’s rising economic star
ETHIOPIA - Protesters in Ethiopia have damaged almost a dozen mostly foreignowned factories and flower farms and destroyed scores of vehicles this week, adding economic casualties to a rising death toll in a wave of unrest over land grabs and political rights.
The violence also casts a shadow over a nation where a state-led industrial drive has created one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, but where the government has also faced rising international criticism and popular opposition to its authoritarian approach to development. The latest flare-up follows the death of at least 55 people in a stampede on Sunday when police fired tear gas and shot into the air to disperse demonstrators in the Oromiya region near the capital. It raises to more than 450 the number of people rights groups and opponents say have been killed in unrest since 2015. A US researcher was killed on Tuesday when her car was attacked by stone-throwers near Addis Ababa. The government says the toll cited by critics is inflated. Fana Broadcasting, which is seen as close to the state, reported on its website that 11 companies ranging from textile firms to a plastics maker to flower farms had been damaged or destroyed, while more than 60 vehicles had been torched. The manager one of the Turkish companies, textile firm Saygin Dima, told Reuters this week at least a third of his factory was burned down after it was attacked. Fana’s website showed images of burned-out trucks on the road side, blaming the damage on “perpetrators of violence”, echoing the line taken by the government, which accuses local rebel groups and dissidents based abroad for stoking the unrest. It said the firms damaged had created 40,000 jobs in a country of 99 million people that has long been blighted by famine but which has been rapidly transforming its fortunes, delivering growth rates that hit 10 percent in fiscal 2015/16. (Reuters.com)
DEMONSTRATORS CHANT SLOGANS WHILE flASHING THE OROMO PROTEST GESTURE DURING THE THANKSGIVING FESTIVAL IN BISHOFTU TOWN.(PHOTO: REUTERS.COM)