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Ethiopia’s Oromo protest, demand freedom for jailed leaders

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, protested Saturday against the government and called for the release of jailed opposition figures as they gathered in the capital for their annual Thanksgiving festival of Irreecha.

Scores of people in the center of Addis Ababa chanted slogans such as “Down, down Abiy!” a reference to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, after performing ritual ceremonies to mark the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest in Oromia state.

They also chanted support for Oromo opposition politician Jawar Mohammed, who was arrested last year following an outbreak of deadly violence sparked by the death of a popular Oromo singer. He remains behind bars along with several others, accused of terrorism. Activists claim their detention is politically motivated.

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