Friday, September 21, 2018 | ePaper

Grenade blast at Ethiopian PM's rally

  • Print


Ethiopian security forces intervene after a blast killed several people during a rally called by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

AFP :
Scores of people were hurt in a grenade blast at new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's first mass rally in the capital that sent crowds fleeing in panic.
Abiy had just wrapped up his speech in the heart of Addis Ababa before tens of thousands of people when the explosion went off, sending droves of supporters towards the stage as the prime minister left hurriedly, an AFP correspondent said. In an address broadcast afterwards on state television,
Abiy said the blast was orchestrated by groups who wanted to undermine the rally but did not name them.
"The people who did this are anti-peace forces. You need to stop doing this. You weren't successful in the past and you won't be successful in the future."
He said several people had been killed, but his chief of staff Fitsum Arega later said on Twitter that there were no deaths.
"As of now, based on reports from police and hospitals, 83 people are injured. Of the 83 injured, six are in critical condition. No death so far has been reported," Arega said.
"Some whose heart is filled with hate attempted a grenade attack," he added, vowing that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
The AFP correspondent said the blast happened stage right from Abiy and sent up a small puff of black smoke.
More than 100 people then stormed the stage, hurling various objects at police, shouting: "Down, down Woyane," and "Woyane thief", using a pejorative term for the government, the AFP correspondent said.
Police later used tear gas to clear the area, while an AFP photographer saw two men and two women taken into custody on suspicion of being involved with the blast.
The rally in the central Meskel Square was Abiy's first public speech in the capital since he took office in April, although he has made several in provincial areas.
In the past three months, Abiy has made major changes in Ethiopia including shaking up the security services, releasing jailed dissidents, moving to liberalise the economy and to resolve a two-decade conflict with arch-enemy Eritrea. "Ethiopia will be on top again, and the foundations will be love, unity and inclusivity," he declared, drressed in a green T-shirt and a hat.
Abiy succeeded Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February amid a wave of anti-government protests led by the country's two largest ethnicities, that started in late 2015 and left hundreds of people dead.
While it remains unclear how deep Abiy's support runs within the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), his actions thus far represent dramatic shifts in the power balance within Africa's second-most populous country. Political rallies of Saturday's scale are rare in Ethiopia, where the EPRDF controls all seats in parliament and opposition parties complain of harassment.

More News For this Category

Sexual harassment prevention law urged

UNB, Dhaka :National Child Advocacy Forum on Thursday handed over draft of a proposed law on preventing sexual harassment to Deputy Speaker Md Fazle Rabbi Miah.The forum, a platform

Kim wants fast denuclearisation : Moon

Kim wants fast denuclearisation : Moon

BBC OnlineĀ  :North Korea's leader wants to complete denuclearisation quickly and hold a second summit with Donald Trump soon, South Korea's president says.President Moon Jae-in, who has ended a

Sinha's claims against govt are 'fictitious': Obaidul

bdnews24.com :Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has dismissed former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha's allegation against the government as 'fictitious.' Justice Sinha claimed he resigned in the 'face

Sinha's book exposed judiciary's true picture: Nazrul

UNB, Dhaka :BNP senior leader Nazrul Islam Khan on Thursday said the contents of former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha's book, 'A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights

Imran writes to Modi seeking resumption of peace talks

Dawn, Pakistan :Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling for the resumption of the peace dialogue between the two countries,

Digital Security Bill passed

UNB, Dhaka :'The Digital Security Bill, 2018' was passed in the Parliament on Wednesday to deal with cyber crimes, including hurting the religious sentiment, negative propaganda against the Liberation

UNHCR distributes more family kits in Cox's Bazar

UNB, Cox's Bazar :UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its partner Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) have distributed over 10,000 family kits among poor families of the host community

Under-5 mortality rate fall in BD: UN report

UNB, Dhaka :Under-five mortality rate in Bangladesh is 32 per 1000 live births, according to new mortality estimates released by Unicef, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations

Digital Security Law to hide corruption: BNP

Staff Reporter :The BNP on Thursday accused the government of making the digital security law to silence the media and people's voice to hide its massive corruption. "The Digital

 British FM sits with Suu Kyi

British FM sits with Suu Kyi

AFP, Naypyidaw :British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt met on Thursday with embattled Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the first high-profile state visit to the country since the