Country Risk

Religious festival deaths increase likelihood of new violent protest wave, small-arms terrorism in Ethiopia’s Amhara region

22 January 2018


At least seven participants in religious processions marking the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo festival of Timkat (Epiphany) and one security officer were killed on 20 January when security forces opened fire on and fought with youths in Weldiya, in Semien (North) Wollo zone, Amhara region.

The youths were singing anti-government protest songs and allegedly throwing stones. Claims of “dozens” of deaths, and at least nine funerals having been held by 22 January, circulated on opposition social media, and anti-government protests on 21 January saw roads barricaded and the burning of local businesses in Weldiya. The Wollo zones were comparatively less affected by the July to October 2016 anti-government protests in the Amhara region, which took place predominantly in the north and west, specifically in the Gondar zones and in the city of Bahir Dar, West Gojjam zone.

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