As protest continues in Oromo region of Ethiopia, two more civilians are reportedly killed in Fiche, a town in Northwest of Addis Ababa, when Ethiopian security forces fired at the protestors. About eight civilians were killed last week during the protest in Shashemane and Booketi in Harar,South East Ethiopia.
Based on reports on social media, it was also reported by US-based Ethiopian broadcaster (ESAT), roads leading to Debremarkos and Bahir Dar from the capital through Fiche were closed by protestors.
Metu, a beautiful small city in southwestern Ethiopia, was quiet for a long time. Today, it broke its silence to join the anti-government protest in the region. People took to the street in huge numbers.
Gebregurecha town was a scene of a very stern protest against the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front government. At least four lorries that belong to the ruling party were sent on fire. (See picture above). Houses were also set on fire and security forces were unable to control the situation.
The funeral of a young man killed by Ethiopian government security was held in Chancho and it was attended by thousands of people.
Bedele town also saw a huge protest. Located on the way to Jimma and Metu, cities in South Western Ethiopia, Bedele is home to a big beer factory that is named after the town.
Oromo activists, radicals and moderates alike, claim that the ongoing protest in the region is coordinated by a youth group that calls itself “Qeerro Billusuma.” Theoretically, these organizers claim that they are independent of any political organizations. However, the flag of radical ethnic Oromo nationalist party ( Oromo Liberation Front) is often hoisted during protests in various towns.
So far the “Queero Billusuma” demonstrate neither interest nor capacity to make their movement a pan-Ethiopian movement with aims to bring about change in Ethiopia.
In fact, last week, 200 Oromo youth traveled to Bahir Dar to help fight aquatic weed on lake Tana but there are rumors that the OPDO initiated the move.
Skepticism from the rest of Ethiopians
While Ethiopians demonstrate outspoken resentment, even hate, towards the dominant political group in the ruling EPRDF coalition, TPLF – which controls key government institutions including the army and security apparatus -, and seek change, there is a visibly considerable skepticism towards the protest in Oromo region on grounds of the influence of radical groups whose ambition is to secede ethnic Oromo from Ethiopia. The radical groups claim Addis Ababa, whose more than 90 percent of its resident is multi-ethnic non-Oromo Ethiopians, as an ethnic land of Oromos. The position of Qeerro Bilusuma is murky on issues like that.
Besides, Ethiopian flag is never used during the protest in any one of the towns in Oromo region so far.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Addis Ababa issued a statement and called for a national dialogue on”matters important to Ethiopian citizens.”