80 Die in Protests After Popular Singer Killed

Shooting has laid bare tensions in Ethiopia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2020 3:39 AM CDT
80 Die in Protests After Popular Singer Killed
Members of the Oromo community stop during a protest on University Avenue in St. Paul, Minn., to sing a song by Hachalu Hundessa, Wednesday, July 1, 2020.   (Evan Frost/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

The murder of a popular singer has caused unrest in Ethiopia and at least 80 deaths, authorities say. Hachalu Hundessa, whose songs focused on the rights of the Oromo ethnic group, was shot dead while driving Monday, the BBC reports. Authorities say more than 70 civilians and at least three police officers, were killed after protests spread from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the surrounding Oromia region, reports Reuters. Hundessa's songs became anthems in the protests that led to a change of government in 2018. The motive for the killing is unclear, though authorities say three suspects were arrested Wednesday night.

Tensions have also been raised by the arrest this week of Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed and dozens of his supporters, the AP reports. Human Rights Watch warns that the arrests "could make a volatile situation even worse," and that the country's shutdown of the Internet since Tuesday has "made it impossible to access information on those killed and injured in the protests." MPR reports that hundreds of members of the Oromo community in Minneapolis blocked Interstate 94 for hours in a protest Wednesday. (More Ethiopia stories.)

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