Ethiopia: Explosion as New PM Speaks
An explosion disrupted a huge rally for Ethiopia's new, reformist prime minister Saturday shortly after he spoke and was waving to the crowd that had turned out in numbers unseen in recent years in the East African nation.
The state broadcaster reported that a few people had been injured, and police said they were investigating. Footage showed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed being rushed from the scene by security guards.
In a cowboy hat and T-shirt, Abiy had addressed the crowd in Addis Ababa's Meskel Square as supporters wore clothes displaying his image and carried signs saying "One Love, One Ethiopia."
Abiy told the crowd of tens of thousands that change was coming and there was no turning back.
"For the past 100 years hate has done a great deal of damage to us," he said, stressing the need for even more reforms.
The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and quickly surprised Africa's second most populous country by announcing the release of tens of thousands of prisoners, the opening of state-owned companies to private investment and the unconditional embrace of a peace deal with rival Eritrea.
Not everyone has cheered the reforms. Some Ethiopians near the border with Eritrea have protested the embrace of the peace deal. And the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, a party in Ethiopia's ruling coalition that has been the dominant force in government for most of the past 27 years, said the announcement on the peace deal had been made before the ruling coalition's congress met to discuss it: "We see this as a flaw."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team