Military troops everywhere and for any little thing, opposition and student protesters are imprisoned, beaten or killed, says Mulatu Gemechu of OFC

By Daniel A. Medina & Corky Siemaszko  (NBC News) |

An Ethiopian opposition party leader warned Monday “the situation will get worse” after a weekend of violence in the African nation that left nearly 100 anti-government demonstrators dead.

“People are desperate and the government is not respecting the demands of the protesters,” Mulatu Gemechu of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Party told NBC News in a telephone interview.

Most of the bloodshed was in the Oromia region, the most populated part of the country, and in the Amhara region.

“In Oromia, you see so much tension,” said Mulatu Gemechu. “Military troops everywhere and for any little thing, opposition and student protesters are imprisoned, beaten or killed.”

ALSO READ UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ethiopia Must Allow in Observers after Killings of Protesters

While the protesters have been demanding for months an end to human rights abuses by the country’s government in Addis Ababa and the release of political prisoners, the new demonstrations have also been fueled by widespread discontent with the eroding quality of life in the country.

“Inflation is going up, electricity, water, infrastructure systems are all collapsing,” said Mulatu Gemechu. “Daily life here has become so difficult and the people refuse to be silent any longer.”

Continue reading this story on NBC News
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