U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ at Violent Protests in Key African Ally

The U.S. government is “deeply concerned” about violent protests in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country and a key American security ally.

The “extensive violence” over the weekend injured and killed an unconfirmed number of civilians and security officers in the Oromia and Amhara regions, the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia said in a statement.

“We recognize that many of the demonstrations took place without authorization, and urge all parties to support those who are seeking constructive dialog and peaceful solutions,” the U.S. said in the statement. “We reaffirm our call to respect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all citizens, including those with opposition views, to gather peacefully, and to express their opinions.”

Security forces in Oromia have killed over 400 protesters complaining about marginalization and repression since November, Human Rights Watch said in June. The government says the protests have involved criminal damage and attacks on police. Anti-government demonstrations in Amhara state are spurred by complaints about an alleged loss of territory to Tigray region.

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