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US Welcomes Release of Ethiopian Opposition Members


The United States has welcomed the release of 32 Ethiopian opposition members who had been detained in Ethiopia since post-election violence in 2005.

The State Department said the release of the opposition figures Saturday will promote political dialogue in the country.

It urged the Ethiopian government to continue to encourage national reconciliation and political reform.

The opposition members were the second group of opposition figures released since July. Another 38 were released last month after receiving life sentences.

None of the 32 freed on Saturday had been charged in court with any crimes.

All the opposition members had been rounded up after protests over the 2005 elections turned violent. Ethiopian security forces killed at least 193 people while stopping the protests.

The opposition made its largest gains ever in the 2005 elections. Opposition groups claimed the elections were rigged to keep Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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