Hutch Hendesa: Ethiopian activist and singer killed in mass protests

At least 81 people have died in mass protests in Ethiopia since the killing of singer and activist Hachlu Hundesa, the local police commissioner said.

In Addis Ababa, a 34-year-old singer was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Monday as demonstrations in the capital spread to several cities in the country's Oromia region.

Namibia Region Police Commissioner Badeesa Madrasa said at a press conference on state media Wednesday that three of those killed during the "disaster" in Ambo City were 78 policemen, including the musician's uncle.

Thirty-five people were arrested during the protests, Federal Police Commissioner Andeshav Tassev, including veteran Oromo political activist Johar Mohammed, said Tuesday night.

A former ally of Johor Prime Minister Abi Ahmed, he was also an Oromo but a critic of the government. According to Tasse, the protest took place during a confrontation between police and protesters to prevent Hachula's corpse from leaving the capital. Tasse said journalist Eskinder Nega was also arrested.

The police commissioner said that the motive for killing the people of Himachal was not clear but the investigation is ongoing and many suspects have been arrested.

The response to his death spread to the United States. Ethiopians gathered in Minnesota and put their country flags on a display Wednesday.

Who is Himachal Hundesa?
The Oromo is part of the Himachal Movement, a prominent group of ethnic groups and the 2015 protests have finally led to political reforms in Ethiopia in 2018.

His songs highlight the frustration of the people in Oromia, where people complain that they are politically marginalized; His music is to carry out a political reform campaign, which is ultimately the end of the previous administration.

By Thursday, protests had stopped as Army personnel patrolling the city's wilderness streets in the capital Addis Ababa.

Ambo in his hometown of Omamiya area was rested by Himachal on a short and private assignment by local media on Thursday.

Internet blackout

According to CEO Alp Talker, the Internet watchdog NetBlock, which oversees connectivity in the country, said on Thursday morning that the Internet was closed for the third day in Ethiopia.

"The general population is offline ... it's very important and people relay to the Internet, especially in times of crisis. At the moment, this information is a blackout," Toker said.

Rights groups allege that the Internet and telecommunication services were regularly shut down during the protests, as well as being the only telecom provider in the state.

Human Rights Watch said the Internet had led to blackout tensions and raised concerns about the crackdown on protesters and urged authorities to restore connections.

The rights group said the security forces killed three protesters, and a doctor in the city of Dir Dawa claimed that security forces treated eight people with bullets to lead the protests.

"Instead of restoring tranquility, the authorities' Internet shutdowns, excessive use of force, and the arrest of political opposition figures can only exacerbate the situation.

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