Several protestors die in Ethiopia stampede
BISHOFTU — At least 50 people were killed in a stampede near the Ethiopian capital yesterday after police fired tear gas at protesters during a religious festival, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
Several thousand people had gathered at a sacred lake in the town of Bishoftu to take part in the Irreecha ceremony, in which the Oromo community marks the end of the rainy season.
Some participants crossed their wrists above their heads, a gesture that has become a symbol of Oromo anti-government protests.
The event quickly degenerated, with protesters throwing stones and bottles and security forces responding with baton charges and then tear gas grenades.
The tear gas caused panic and at least 50 people fell on top of each other into a ditch.
The AFP photographer saw between 15 and 20 unmoving bodies some of which were clearly dead.
Police demanded that the photographer leave the scene, where rubber bullets were strewn on the ground. — AP
At least 50 people were killed when police opened fire at protesters after a religious festival turned violent in Ethiopia — AFP