More than 80 reported killed this week in Ethiopia’s unrest

A man pushes a hand-cart past closed shops following protests in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 1, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 July 2020

More than 80 reported killed this week in Ethiopia’s unrest

  • The deaths reported followed the killing of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa

ADDIS ABABA: More than 80 people have been killed in unrest in Ethiopia after a popular singer was shot dead this week, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation says. He was buried Thursday amid tight security.
The deaths reported Wednesday, citing police in the Oromia region, followed the killing of Hachalu Hundessa on Monday. He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to a change in leadership in 2018. Angry protests, including three bomb blasts, followed his death in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The unrest poses a major challenge for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took power in 2018 and introduced sweeping political reforms. The singer’s killing further increased tensions after the government recently delayed the national election, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
Abiy on Thursday said the government will do whatever it takes to restore calm in Ethiopia and accused the perpetrators of the singer’s killing of trying to kill the country as well.
We will come out of this, the prime minister said, hinting there could be links to the killing of the army chief last year and the grenade thrown at one of his own rallies in 2018.
Police late Wednesday said three people had been arrested in the death of the singer, who was buried in his hometown of Ambo. His service was carried on national television.
The mood remained tense and fearful in Addis Ababa as some residents formed protection groups to defend their property from vandals. Hundreds of cars this week have been burned or damaged. Downtown streets were largely empty aside from fire trucks and ambulances.
Internet and mobile data service remain cut in Ethiopia as human rights groups raise concerns about the restrictions. The shutdown has “made it impossible to access information on those killed and injured in the protests,” Human Rights Watch said.
Other arrests this week include that of a well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, and more than 30 supporters. The arrest of opposition figures “could make a volatile situation even worse,” Human Rights Watch said,
Abiy has seen his administration’s sweeping reforms challenged as the loosening of political space opened the way for ethnic and other grievances, leading in some cases to deadly intercommunal violence.
Abiy earlier called the singer’s killing a “tragedy” and declared that “our enemies will not succeed.”


Greece: 243 positive COVID-19 cases among migrants in Lesbos

Updated 9 min 21 sec ago

Greece: 243 positive COVID-19 cases among migrants in Lesbos

  • More than 12,000 asylum-seekers were left homeless nearly two weeks ago after fires on two successive nights destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp
  • The migrants spent several nights sleeping rough by the side of a road in makeshift shelters

ATHENS, Greece: Greece’s government spokesman says more than 200 people have tested positive for the coronavirus among thousands of asylum-seekers admitted to a new camp on the island of Lesbos after the old one burned down.
Speaking during a regular briefing Monday, Stelios Petsas said 7,064 people who entered the new camp at Kara Tepe had been tested, and 243 of them were found positive.
The average age of those confirmed positive was 24, and most were asymptomatic, Petsas said. A further 160 people, mainly police and administrative staff who had come into contact with the migrants, were tested and all were negative for the virus.
Petsas said the positive cases from Lesbos would be added to Greece’s official coronavirus figures Monday. Health authorities release daily statistics of the virus’s spread every evening.
More than 12,000 asylum-seekers were left homeless nearly two weeks ago after fires on two successive nights destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp. Greek authorities have said the fires were deliberately set by a small group of Afghans angered by lockdown and isolation orders imposed after 35 people in the camp tested positive for COVID-19.
The migrants spent several nights sleeping rough by the side of a road in makeshift shelters, and held at least two protests, attended by thousands, to demand to be allowed to leave the island.
Authorities have constructed a new facility consisting of family tents erected on an old shooting range in a coastal area of the island. They launched a campaign over the weekend to persuade those who had been sleeping rough to go to the new camp, and thousands have complied.
But others are still sleeping rough in fields and in an olive grove outside the remnants of Moria. Authorities were expected to attempt to have them move into the new camp over the coming days.
Nationwide, Greece has been experiencing a resurgence of the virus, with the number of new daily cases often topping 300, and both deaths and the number of those in intensive care units rising.
Greece has had just over 15,000 confirmed positive cases and 338 deaths in this country of nearly 11 million people.