The news has been reported in bits and pieces in different parts of the continent (and indeed the world) and with every passing day we have learned a bit more about the situation in the ground.
Today, we did a deep dive to discover the roots and reactions at the heart of the latest protests which have gripped Ethiopia – and affected communities across the diaspora.
What has sparked the protests?
On June 29, unidentified gunmen shot 34-year-old Ethiopian musician Hachalu Hundessa dead in Addis. His uncle was also reportedly killed. In widespread protests across Ethiopia this week, more than 80 people have died. Now, his death has become a rallying cry for the opposition to speak out against Prime Minister Ahmed.
Now, his death has become a rallying cry for the opposition to speak out against Prime Minister Ahmed.
On a TRTWorld interview, Fauma Bedhaso, an Oromo rights activist, based in Minneapolis, said Hachalu spoke truth to power. “His music captured our collective trauma. He gave voice to a generation.”
“Most people were very happy with (Prime Minister) Abiy Ahmed in the beginning. He opened up the political space, former members of the opposition were able to go home, he freed journalists, he freed political prisoners. But somewhere after the euphoria, (Ahmed’s government) began focusing on trivial things as opposed to starting a national reconciliation which a lot of people were hoping for.”
Ahmed called Hundessa’s killing “an evil act… committed and inspired by domestic and foreign enemies in order to destabilize our peace and to stop us from achieving things that we started.”
Is there internet in Ethiopia?
Following the spread of the protests, the government responded by cutting off all communications and internet services in order to halt the mobilising of protestors.
Broadband and Wi-Fi internet services were restored in Ethiopia on Wednesday, more than 15 days after they were suspended amid civil unrest sparked by an activist’s assassination.
The government is still taking a cautious approach, though, and is yet to reopen mobile internet and data services.
The protests are ongoing at this stage and it remains to be seen if a resolution will be reached in the coming days.