Scuffles break out at Ethiopian anti-IS rally | News | DW | 22.04.2015
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Scuffles break out at Ethiopian anti-IS rally

Protesters hurled rocks at the police, who fired tear gas at them during a large anti-IS protest in Addis Ababa. The rally was held after the release of a jihadist video showing the execution of Ethiopian Christians.

Around 100,000 protesters gathered in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to condemn the "Islamic State" militia, which beheaded and shot a group of 30 Christians from Ethiopia.

The victims are believed to have been captured in Libya while trying to reach Europe. The "IS" showed their murders in a video published over the weekend.

Although the images of the execution caused outrage among Ethiopians, some of the protesters on Wednesday turned their anger against the authorities, accusing them of not doing enough against the poverty that drives people to attempt a dangerous and often deadly journey towards Europe. Others demanded the government to do more to protect its citizens.

"We are tired of speeches and propaganda! We want action! Revenge for our brothers!" a group of young people chanted before being surrounded by police.

Multiple groups of protesters clashed with the police, throwing stones, while the security forces shot canisters of tear gas. At least 100 people were detained by the police.

Government to 'redouble' antiterrorism action

The government warned the citizens not to go to areas controlled by the Islamic State.

"We will redouble efforts to fight terrorism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Tewolde Mulugeta said on Wednesday, responding to demands for action from the protesters.

"We are trying to create opportunities here for our young people," he added. "We encourage them to exploit those opportunities at home."

'Followers of the cross'

The "IS" execution video showed militants beheading a group of some 12 men on a beach, and a larger group being shot in the head in a desert area. The militants called their captives "followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church."

Although almost two thirds of Ethiopians are Christian, the country also has an ancient Muslim culture, and the relations between Muslims and Christians have been mostly peaceful for a long time. On Tuesday, Muslim members of the Ethiopian parliament read out verses from the Koran preaching tolerance.

Ethiopian lawmakers also debated possible responses to the killings on Tuesday; it is still unclear whether a military option is on the table.

The authorities have announced three days of national mourning over the massacre.

dj/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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