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was a festival to give thanks, but it turned into a protest against the Ethiopian government, and that turned into a nightmare. An opposition official telling Reuters that 50 people were killed Sunday in a stampede after police fired tear gas and warning shots to stop people chanting angry slogans and waving a rebel groups flag.
Thousands had gathered on Sunday for the annual Irreecha religious festival. Crowds chanted, we need freedom, and we need justice, so loudly that community elders couldn't give their speeches. Some of the victims fleeing the chaos plunged into a deep ditch. The government giving no death toll but confirming that lives were lost.
It blames dissidence abroad for stirring up the protests, denying charges that it clumps down on free speech and opposition. For two years now, sporadic protests have erupted in the Oromia region, about 40 kilometers from the capital, Addis Ababa. They were sparked at first by a land rile, then turned more broadly against the government.
Scores have been killed in clashes with police.