Group Presses Ethiopia to End Repression at Demos

Muslims in Ethiopia protest against the government's crackdown on freedom of speech and their right to assemble.

Posted: 08/08/2013 02:16 PM EDT

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An international rights group is urging Ethiopia's government to end "repressive tactics" against Muslim demonstrations.

At a protest in Ethiopia's capital on Thursday marking the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, Muslims chanted slogans asking the government to respect their rights.

Witnesses told an Associated Press reporter that hundreds of protesters were beaten by police who dispersed the crowd near a stadium where mass prayer was being held. Police blocked roads leading to the stadium.

Amnesty International said it's concerned with authorities' crackdowns on freedom of speech and the right to assemble. The group said Ethiopia should restrain its response and avoid future bloodshed.

Some in Ethiopia's Muslim community — about one-third of the predominantly Christian nation — have been protesting alleged government interference in religious affairs for about two years.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

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