Why Deansgate was just shut down by an army of passionate protesters

Hundreds of people marched down Deansgate in Manchester this afternoon to protest against the actions of the Ethiopian government.

The protest, captured on social media by dozens of people, is a demonstration by the Oromo people – who make up around a third of the population of Ethiopia. Oromia and neighbouring Amhara are the homelands of the country’s two biggest ethnic groups.

The people of Oromia have long complained that the country has excluded them from any political processes and the region has not benefited from any economic development – unlike Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital.

The recent unrest, however, was the final straw, but was fuelled by something else. The recent killing of a 34-year-old musician in the capital.

The killing of protest singer Hachalu Hundessa led to days of unrest in Ethiopia – including the deaths of at least 80 people during protests.

Hachalu Hundessa

This triggered a protest of up to 1,000 Ethiopians and their supporters outside the country’s embassy in London on Friday.

The death of Hundessa, whose songs focused on the plight of the aforementioned Oromo oppression, sparked resistance across the globe – which has so far resulted in the death of at least 166 protesters.

Today’s protest in Manchester follows the protests in the British capital and condemns politically motivated killings which are nothing new for Ethiopia. However, this particular murder – of a man who is seen as a leader of the people – has touched a nerve.

Hachalu Hundessa was always considered as a risk due to his opposition of the system in Ethiopia, which is why people loved him so much. He never let the the risk to his life keep him quiet.

So his supporters are making noise in his deafening absence.

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