Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ethiopia: Scores Injured As Police, Muslims Clash in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa — Over 100 people including eight policemen were injured after clashes broke out during the weekend between police and Muslim protesters in Addis Ababa, where African leaders are gathered for African Union (AU) assembly.
The clashes took place after police attempt to break off what it said was an "illegal preparations for assembly" by a group of "radical Muslims" who wish to make Ethiopia into an Islamic state.
A police official on Sunday told Sudan Tribune that the group has no legal right to conduct or to call for public gatherings.
"The extremist group have been making several campaigns and calls for demos at different mosques of the city on the pretext of religion" the police official said.
According to Federal Police, the group had called for demonstrations on Sunday to deliberately disrupt the ongoing AU summit.
During the past two months, the capital, Addis Ababa, has been a scene of Muslim protests which accuse the government of interference in religious affairs. An allegation Addis Ababa denies.
Today protesters took control of the great Mosque of Anwar before security forces arrived to restore order.
Police took custody of dozens of people, eyewitness told Sudan Tribune. Police rejected reports that there had been fatalities.
Following the incident the Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) in a statement accused the Ethiopian government of intensifying its crack-down on the Muslim community.
"The Ethiopian government must be held accountable for its atrocities against Ethiopian Muslims" the group said by further calling on the international community to immediately intervene over the situation.
Ethiopian Muslims are estimated to make up some 40 per cent of the country's 81 million dominantly-Christian population.
Religious violence is not common in Ethiopia, which normally prides itself on being a symbol of religious tolerance.

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