Ethiopian hospital sources say at least 27 people have been killed and at least 150 wounded in a second straight day of clashes between police and demonstrators in the capital, Addis Ababa. Security forces fired shots to disperse opposition supporters throwing stones to protest the disputed elections held in May. The government says only 11 people have been killed, including at least one police officer.
Over the past 48 hours, Ethiopian authorities have arrested scores of protesters and several opposition leaders. The opposition has called for renewed protests against the ruling party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, charging massive fraud in the elections.
Ethiopian opposition parliamentarian, Dr. Beyene Petros told Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje the government used excessive force against the demonstrators. Dr. Bayene says the opposition leaders were exercising their constitutional right to protest. He said the street demonstrations were a spontaneous act by what he called “an aggrieved [electorate].” He called for the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees.
Dr. Beyene renewed calls for dialogue between the opposition and the government. He also defended his decision to take a seat in parliament – despite a boycott by the majority of elected opposition members. He said it’s a way of working for change within the system, while he also continues to support those who fight for democracy outside the system.