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Ethiopian opposition rally to be held

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Ethiopian opposition rally to be held

Ethiopia rally
Photo: Yonas Tadesse/ AFP/ Getty

Protesters from the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second-largest ethnic group, will take to the streets of the capital Addis Ababa today.

Home to 80 different ethnic groups, Ethiopia has continuing issues of ethnic discrimination and persecution. Protests highlighting the ethnic tensions between the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and the Amhara have escalated this year following the killing of Oromo musician Hachalu Hundesa in June. Hundesa was a key figure in the protest movements that led to the resignation of prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn in 2018. In a move away from ethnic federalism, the government was reconstituted in 2019 under the pan-ethnic Prosperity Party.

Hundesa’s death sparked country-wide deadly attacks on the Amhara community by government forces. Rallies have turned deadly with the government using heavy-handed military lockdowns in response to demonstrations. The National Movement of Amhara has been prohibited from coordinating today’s rally, which may devolve into a prolonged military lockdown.

Next year will be the first time the Prosperity Party will run for office. Today’s handling of the rally will demonstrate if the party is able to successfully navigate ethnic tensions—if persecution continues, a 2021 Amhara coup attempt is a real possibility.

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