Sioux Falls, SD residents marched to U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds’ downtown office Monday, asking the lawmaker to oppose support of the Ethiopian government.

By Patrick Anderson (Argus Leader) |

Godi Boku is thousands of miles away from his homeland, but the Sioux Falls, SD resident is doing what he can to end the violence threatening his loved ones.

Boku marched to U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds’ office Monday with other protesters and delivered a letter asking him to oppose United States’ support of the Ethiopian government.

He and other marchers worry about their families.

“They’re scared,” Boku said. “They cannot go outside. There is no freedom of speech like America.”

Sioux Falls is home to 2,500 Oromos, an ethnic group in Ethiopia.

Boku, who recently lost his job as a pharmacy technician, earned his citizenship years ago and watched helplessly last year as violence erupted against his people.

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Ethiopian forces have killed more than 400 Oromos and arrested tens of thousands more since protests re-ignited in November against the displacement of farmers near the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Wrapped in Ethiopia’s flag, Boku was joined by dozens of protesters who want the U.S. government to stop its financial support of what they call the ruling “regime.”

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