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Ethiopia Releases 2,400 Prisoners Rounded Up During Deadly Protests

Ethiopia's state-run television reports police have released 2,417 people arrested during last week's deadly clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters.

A statement broadcast Thursday says the prisoners were freed from the central police station in the capital, Addis Ababa, the Ziway detention camp south of the city and the Dedesa military camp, west of the capital.

They were released after the authorities determined they were not involved in last week's unrest, which left at least 46 people dead.

Police opened fire on anti-government protesters who torched tires and smashed cars in Addis Ababa and elsewhere to protest the results of parliamentary elections that gave the victory to the ruling party.

However, 24 top opposition leaders and journalists remain in jail, but have not been formally charged. They are to appear in a special court within two weeks.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that group of prisoners was guilty of insurrection, an offense he called an act of treason under Ethiopian law.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Some information for this story provided by AP and Reuters.