News: Protests break out at Irreecha Hora Finfinne festival in Ethiopia’s capital

Ireecha Hora Finfinne celebration Source: EBC

By Addis Standard Staff 

Addis Abeba, October 02/2021 – Protests calling for the release of political prisoners, PM Abiy Ahmed downfall and praising the Oromo Liberation Army commander widely known as Jaal Maroo broke out in Addis Abeba today in the midst of Irreecha (The Oromo Thanksgiving) 2021 celebrations. 

In a heavy presence of federal police,  people gathered in the early hours of the morning at Hora Finfinne in the center of the Capital Addis Abeba to perform rituals. Not long after,  protesters started shouting slogans like “Jawar, Jawar, Jawar”, “Down Down Abiy”, and “Maroo”.

Sources on the ground told Addis Standard that although the security apparatus response has been measured so far, injuries have occurred and those injured have been moved to Zeweditu Hospital and the police made arrests at the premise of the festival at Meskel Square.

Despite the Irreecha festival evolving through the decades into a platform for the Oromo youth to express their concerns about the existing political and subsequent economic and social challenges their communities face. 

The organizer of the festival and the Tulama Abba Gadaa Gobena Hola yesterday in a talk with BBC Amahric warned attendees to refrain from platforming any political agendas at the festival. “We come to the water carrying only grass, there’s no need to exaggerate which flag to wave,” he said referring to the flag of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) that symbolizes resistance and is often prohibited from entering the premises of the festival. 

Today is the first day of a two day  celebration at Hora Finfinne in Addis Abeba and Hora Arsadi in Bishoftu city (47 km south of Addis Abeba), the celebration will move to Bishoftu to perform final rituals at Lake Hora tomorrow morning. AS

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