Our struggle, until a democratic state is created in the country, a political system that accommodates for all the citizens in the country, is created, we continue our struggle, says Merera Gudina

By Jill Craig (VOA News) |

Insisting the demonstrations in Ethiopia’s Oromia region during the past year are a mass movement, not just two or three protest groups, Merera Gudina, the chairman of Ethiopia’s opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, is calling for the government to listen to the people’s demands.

“Our struggle, until a democratic state is created in the country, a political system that accommodates for all the citizens in the country, is created, we continue our struggle,” said Gudina. “Whatever the cost may be.”

He says the government has been using “carrot and stick” tactics. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has promised political reforms, which Gudina says are “too little, too late.” Desalegn also announced a six-month national state of emergency to restore order.

Recent violent protests have targeted mostly foreign-owned businesses, burning and damaging almost a dozen factories and flower farms, and an estimated 60 vehicles across the Oromia region. An American researcher was killed near Addis Ababa when her car was attacked.

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Rights groups such as Amnesty International have accused security forces of using excessive force to put down the protests.

During the recent thanksgiving celebration in early October at least 55 people were killed in a stampede when police fired tear gas and shots into the air. In August, protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions left dozens dead and hundreds injured after Ethiopian security forces allegedly opened fire on unarmed anti-government protesters.

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