A year after Obama’s visit, Ethiopia is in turmoil
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The shoes lay scattered on the sidewalk as the detained protesters walked barefoot through the rain, escorted by grim-faced police officers who casually beat them with batons to keep them moving.
In nearby Meskel Square here in the heart of the Ethiopian capital, police kicked around the remnants of protest signs. Just 10 minutes earlier, 500 people had gathered at the site, shouting slogans against the government — before being beaten, rounded up and carted off by police.
In Ethiopia’s countryside, however, it was a bloodier story. Rights groups and opposition figures estimate that dozens were killed in a weekend of protests that shook this key U.S. ally in the Horn of Africa.
The government had switched off the Internet over the weekend, apparently to prevent demonstrators from organizing, so it was only by Monday that word spread of the extent of the violence across the Oromia and Amhara regions.