Ethiopia: slaying of musician sparks Oromo uprising


The military has been deployed in the Ethiopian capital amid a general uprising by the Oromo people that broke out after the assassination of a popular singer. Hachalu Hundessa, shot dead while driving on the outskirts of Addis Ababa on June 29, was an icon of the Oromo┬áprotest movement that has been mounting since 2015. His songs, such as “Maalan Jira?” (What Existence is Mine?) and “Jirraa” (We are Here), have been hailed as the “soundtrack of the Oromo revolution,” and he was named “Oromo Person of the Year” by cultural advocates in 2017. Police say two have been arrested in connection with the killing, but rebellion continues to spread across Central Ethiopia. At least 80 have been killed and many detained. The prominent Oromo leader Jawar Mohammed is among those arrested.

In the eastern city of Harar, protesters pulled down a statue of Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael,┬áa royal prince┬áwho was the father of Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s last emperor. The government has shut down the internet throughout the country in┬áa bid to quell the uprising.

Unrest among the Oromo┬áhas been fueled in recent years by Addis Ababa’s urban expansion eating into traditional lands. (BBC News, BBC News, BBC News, NYT, Al Jazeera, CNN)

Solidarity protests have also been launched by┬áMinnesota’s substantial┬áOromo community. Some 200 Oromo┬áprotesters gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, calling for justice for Hundessa that day after his slaying. (MPR News)

Photo: DAGI Pisctures via BBC News