On Monday, the Ethiopian capital experienced scenes of terror. Police used tear gas on Muslim demonstrators on the outside of Ramadan prayers. The event happened outside the Addis Abeba International Stadium, and Addis police described it as a “riot” sparked by “a few persons.”
According to an official, a police officer mistakenly shot tear gas into the throng as the devout began to yell slogans and toss stones. According to an Addis police statement, property was destroyed before order was restored.
“This is one of our Eid celebrations, our holidays, every year, once a year, therefore I need to give a message to all Muslims to look (after) impoverished people, to aid them, to cooperate with others, Muslims, and the government.”
Because the stadium was so crowded for the Eid celebration, some believers congregated in Meskel Square to pray.
The clashes come on the heels of anti-Muslim incidents in the country’s north last week. On Tuesday, April 25, an incident occurred at a Muslim funeral at the Sheikh Elias Cemetery in Gondar, a largely Christian city. “The organised armed gang in Gondar that orchestrated the attack with explosives and machine guns is answerable for what transpired there,” says Ustaz Mohammed, a board member of the Addis Abeba Muslim Council.
According to AFP journalists, several protesters hurled stones at police while yelling “Justice for Gondar” and “Don’t fire our mosques, don’t murder our people.”
Ethiopia is a predominantly Christian country, with Muslims constituting approximately 30% of the population.