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Ethiopian Police Crack Down on Protesting Students, Opposition Members

Police in Ethiopia today arrested hundreds of students who defied a government ban to protest the results of disputed parliamentary elections. Riot police charged into a crowd of demonstrators at Addis Ababa University, beating some with batons and loading them onto trucks.

Earlier in the day, Ethiopian troops blocked roads leading to the university -- a move that did not deter students from gathering to denounce the May 15th polls as fraudulent.

Elections officials say preliminary results show the ruling party has won a majority of seats. But a coalition of opposition groups claims massive rigging -- saying it has won enough seats to form the next government. Final results were expected on June 8th, but election officials have delayed their release by one month to investigate complaints by both the ruling party and opposition groups.

Lidetu Ayalew is the head of public relations for the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy. He’s also the secretary general of a group within the CUD, The Ethiopian Democracy and Unity Party.

Mr. Lidetu told Voice of America reporter William Eagle security personnel entered his building this afternoon – and have begun detaining people. He also says there is no link between the student protestors and the opposition.