In Ethiopia, this year’s Irreecha festival brought peaceful but powerful protest as the Oromo people marked the anniversary of last year’s massacre at Bishoftu.
More than 1.5 million people were expected to attend the annual thanksgiving celebration. Despite the rainy skies, they came; once there, the crowds chanted anti-government slogans with the now-familiar crossed arms symbol of protest against Ethiopian authorities they say have long persecuted them – and who, in 2016, opened fire as the scene at Bishoftu deteriorated into chaos.
“May The Almighty avenge those that are killing our people,” said the traditional Oromo Gadaa leader as he delivered a blessing. “May The Almighty avenge those who killed our people here last year. May The Almighty avenge the unavenged. May The Almighty end our national ordeals.”