'More than 80 killed' in Ethiopia unrest after singer shot dead

More than 80 killed this week in Ethiopia’s unrest

Popular Ethiopian protest singer shot dead

Authorities say more than 70 civilians and at least three three police officers, were killed after protests spread from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the surrounding Oromia region, reports Reuters.

Many people were injured in Tuesday's protests and there was "significant destruction to property", Getachew Balcha, the spokesperson for the Oromia regional government, told the BBC. Subsequently, with the help of security forces, the coffin was taken by helicopter to Ambo and the Oromia Police has arrested 35 people in connection with the deadly standoff, the commissioner said.

The singer is set to be buried Thursday in the Oromia region.

Only a small crowd of emotional family members and mourners were allowed to be present as the singer's casket was lowered into the ground next to a church in Ambo.

The Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, have long complained of their exclusion from political power. Members of the military, federal police and regional police were out in force, he said.

Hachalu Hundessa was considered "an icon of revolution - especially in the Oromo ethnic group", said DW's Colleta Wanjohi.

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He was detained after protesters tried to block Hachalu's body from leaving the main city on Tuesday.

Hachalu was significantly more than just a singer and entertainer.

Dozens of people have died in the unrest after the singer was shot to death earlier this week - but the violence didn't dissuade scores from seeking to attend his funeral in the town of Ambo.

"Thirty-five people including Jawar Mohammed have been put under arrest".

Ethiopian musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa poses while dressed in a traditional costume during the 123rd anniversary celebration of the battle of Adwa, where Ethiopian forces defeated invading Italian forces, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 2, 2019.

Hundessa was a prominent figure in successful anti-government demonstrations that lasted for three years before Abiy, who hails from the Oromo ethnic group, came to power.

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In a recent interview with local TV station Oromia Media Network, owned by Mr Jawar, Hachalu had said that people should remember that all the horses seen mounted by old leaders belonged to the people. The prime minister has called for calm.

His death immediately rekindled tensions. "Choosing the first is to willingly aid them in our demise", the prime minister said.

Hundeessaa said that "because of government oppression", he was forced to record his second album in the U.S., and added that "I oppose the leaders that have created oppressive systems and structures for Oromo people".

But the rise in political activism has also led to an increase in unrest in a country made up of more than 80 ethnic groups.

The prime minister, who is Oromo, has also been praised for his reforms at home, which have dramatically changed the atmosphere in what was regarded as a repressive state.

His rule has ushered in greater political and economic freedoms in what had always been one of the continent's most repressive states, and he won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending conflict with neighboring Eritrea.

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