BBC News

Ethiopian mass protest against IS killings in Libya

image copyrightReuters
image captionEthiopians have been shocked by the killings which have been condemned throughout the world

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have attended a rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, condemning the murders of Ethiopians by Islamic State militants.

More than 20 migrant workers - most thought to be Ethiopian Christians - were killed by the Libyan branch of IS.

It released videos on Sunday of some of the men being beheaded and others shot.

Ethiopia's prime minister warned the protesters about the dangers of illegal immigration and described the killings as "Satanic".

IS and other jihadist groups are active in many towns in Libya, which has been torn by civil conflict since last year - and has been unstable since long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

image copyrightAFP
image captionThere was a tone of defiance at the rally
image copyrightAP
image captionDemonstrators held up placards of some of those who were killed
image copyrightAP
image captionSome of the relatives of the victims also attended the rally in Meskel Square
image copyrightAP
image captionAnd religious leaders from the Orthodox Church were in the crowd

"This week's cruel act which was committed against our citizens in Libya not only gives a glimpse into terrorism, but also shows the Satanic acts and objectives of those who committed the act," Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told the mass rally in Addis Ababa's Meskel Square.

He also urged unity in the fight against what he called "home-grown extremism" in Ethiopia, and said those who chose to an illegal route to migrate risked falling prey to human traffickers.

"It is clear to everyone that our fellow citizens all have the right to live and work in any part of the world. But the illegal migration that leads to unnecessary suffering and death carried out by illegal human traffickers must stop."

However, later the government-condoned protest broke into scuffles with some parts of the crowd throwing stones, chanting anti-government slogans and clashing with police.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThere were some scuffles towards the end of the event
image copyrightReuters
image captionElections will be held in Ethiopia next month
image copyrightReuters
image captionSome complain that the failure to raise living standards fuels the flow of migrants

Police fired rounds of tear gas at some towards the end of the demonstration, the AFP news agency reports.

The rally comes a month before Ethiopia holds parliamentary elections, the first since the death in 2012 of long-time leader Meles Zenawi.

Related Topics

  • Islamic State group
  • Ethiopia

More on this story

  • IS gains Libya foothold