Many die as protest turns stampede

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Stampede at Ethiopia protest
Stampede at Ethiopia protest

Many people have been killed and others injured in the Oromia region of Ethiopia after security forces confronted protesters at a festival, witnesses say.

The victims died in a panicked stampede after police employed tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges the bbc reports.

Thousands of Ethiopians had gathered for a religious festival in Bishoftu, 40km (25 miles) from the capital Addis Ababa.

While some reports said police responded after anti-government protesters threw stones and bottles, others said demonstrators were entirely peaceful.

Ethiopia’s government said in a statement that “lives were lost”, adding: “Those responsible will face justice”.

An Oromo activist, Jawar Mohamed, is quoted as saying nearly 300 people were killed and many more injured. He said troops and a helicopter gunship had opened fire, driving people off a cliff and into a lake.

There has been no independent confirmation of this.

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