Ethiopia's government says five people have been killed in protests against a government plan to develop farmland outside the capital into a new business zone.
Communications Minister Getachew Reda said Monday that the number of dead could rise. Opposition supporters say more than 30 people have been killed in three weeks of protests in the Oromia region around the capital, Addis Ababa.
The protesters, who are from the Oromo ethnic group, say the government plan will lead to a loss of autonomy and marginalization for Oromo people living on the outskirts of the capital.
The government argues that the plan to develop the farmland will bring new business and will benefit all groups.
Opposition groups say the protesters are mostly students and farmers, while the government describes them as "extremist Oromo groups" and "armed gangs."
Oromos are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, comprising about 40 percent of the country's population.