Ethiopian land protests put down with deadly force

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(ft times) A dispute that started over a football field has evolved into one of the biggest challenges to the Ethiopian state since the end of the civil war a quarter of a century ago.

When local officials expropriated the school pitch for developers, students took to the streets of Ginchi, a small town 80km from Addis Ababa, the capital.

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Their protest was swiftly put down. But the incident was symptomatic of a wider collision in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies as the government seeks to transform a predominately agrarian society through industrialisation, commercial farming and urbanisation.
The Ginchi protest was the first spark in an outpouring of opposition to local and federal government in which at least 140 people died between November and last month, according to human rights groups. The protests spread across Oromia state, home to millions of subsistence farmers from the Oromo, the largest group in Ethiopia’s federation of ethnic nationalities. Read More

 

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