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August 9, 2013

Ethiopian Muslims protest on Eid holiday

Activists say government is restricting rights of religious minority.

Man praying in Addis Ababa protest on Thursday, August 8, 2013. (Photo: Dimtsachin Yisema Facebook page)

A rally for Muslim rights in Ethiopia on Thursday ended with reports of police beatings and widespread arrests. 
Ethiopian Muslims took to the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr to call on the government to respect their religious rights. Activists say the government has interfered in elections for Ethiopia's Islamic Council and promotes an "alien" sect of Islam that opposes political activism. 
For its part, the government denies both claims and says protesters want to create an Islamic state in Ethiopia.
Activists also blame the government for violence that broke out during rallies in Ethiopia's Oromiya region last week. State media said three officers were killed during clashes between police and Muslim protesters, though a local resident told Amnesty International that 14 were shot dead by the military. 
Following Thursday's protest, Amnesty International released a statement calling on the Ethiopian government to end "repressive tactics against demonstrators".