132 wounded, 1 dead in grenade attack at Ethiopian prime minister's rally

Pauline Gross
June 23, 2018

"Someone tried to hurl it to the stage where the prime minister was", Seyoum said.

But it remains unclear how deep Abiy's support runs within the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) for carrying out the reforms.

Some Ethiopians in the north near the border with Eritrea, one of the world's most reclusive nations, have protested the embrace of the peace deal.

Eritrea, the country that has been hosting anti-TPLF rebel groups, announced today that it is sending delegation to Ethiopia to figure out next step for the peace talk proposed by prime minister Abiy Ahmed's government. However, the prime minister's chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, later tweeted that no deaths had yet been reported. "We ask the prime minister to now amend laws that restrict free speech and to end a system of surveillance that has always been used to intimidate journalists".

Arbegnoch Ginbot 7, Eritrean based Ethiopian rebel group, says it will end armed struggle and resort to peaceful one if Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed implements the reform measures he promised during his speech in the Ethiopian parliament on Monday this week.

A Red Cross volunteer assists an injured woman during a rally called by Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Meskel Square in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

"All the casualties are martyrs of love and peace", Abiy was quoted as saying.

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The 42-year-old, who was born in the city of Agaro in Oromia and comes from a mixed Christian-Muslim family, joined the OPDO in the late 1980s.

"I saw some five people injured following the blast", he added.

State television quickly cut away from coverage of the rally, which has since broken up.

The explosion occurred shortly after Abiy finished speaking and was waving to the crowd.

Mr Abiy has also announced the part-privatisation of state-owned enterprises, is attempting to stabilise Ethiopia's rocky relationship with neighbouring Eritrea, and ended a state of emergency put in place by the previous administration.

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.

The United States has been among other nations expressing support for the changes in the country, a key security ally.

Other reports by GizPress

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