Scores have reportedly died and many were injured today at the Oromo Community Irrecha annual Thanks Giving ceremony in Bishoftu/DebreZeit, 43 km from the capital Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, according to various sources.
Some sources reported at least 100s of deaths.
This years event has been attended by international tourists, journalists and invited guests from Amhara region as well as millions of Oromo people.
Thousands of Agazi and Ethiopian Defense and Air Forces have surrounded the city since yesterday.
Some of the pictures show congregates showing the protest hand sign X as they the military helicopters were hovering.
Pictures sourced from Jawar Mohammed’s Facebook posts
#OromoProtests BREAKING NEWS: Atleast 50 death being reported at Irecha
— Jawar Mohammed (@Jawar_Mohammed) October 2, 2016
— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) October 2, 2016
Internet is cut in Bisheftu, no communications
— Addisgazetta (@addisgazetta) October 2, 2016
According to sources the attack by government forces from air and ground, which started by firing tear gas, is still continuing so the casualties could even rise.
An article that appeared on Ethiopian Website Nazret.com describes Irecha as:
Irecha means Thanksgiving Day to their ‘Waqa’ or God. It originated among the Blue Nile bound Cushitic people of Oromo for thousands of years. At national level, it is celebrated in Bishoftu town in Oromia state at Lake Hora Arsadi. This festivity is celebrated on last Sunday of September. On the festival Aba Gadaas, community leaders and folks share their produces and address thanks to Waqa for the blessed transition from the rainy season to the bright and colorful Birra season.
We at De Birhan call for the declaration of three days of worldwide mourning for the innocent civilians killed by government actions.
Ethiopian regime officials said 52 people were killed and an equivalent number were injured. Diaspora based Oromo activists however said at least 500 people died today, citing hospital sources.