Ethiopia’s Oromia youth “Qeerroo” began a 3-day general strike today … has the potential to escalate into a full-blown anti-government protest

Ethiopia in standstill. A 3-day general strike is underway throughout the Oromia region of Ethiopia as well as reports of continued protests in several cities and towns.

BY AFRICA NEWS

Several towns across Ethiopia’s Oromia region religiously observed the start of a general strike. According to reports, the strike was called by the youth (Qeerroo) in the region.

The streets of most towns are deserted as people have largely remained indoors. Shop owners have also kept their businesses closed across the board. The youth are calling for the unconditional release of all political prisoners held by the government.

The protest according to the state-owned EBC has crippled transport and business activities in the state which has since 2015 and through the better part of 2016 being the epicenter of anti-government protests.

In other parts of the region, people continue anti-government protests against the latest case of a military-civilian clash which led to the loss of lives at an Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp in the town of Hamaressa.

Protests took place in places like Nekemete, Ambo, Wolliso, Haramaya, Arsi Negelle and at the Dembi Dolo university where students were pictured with the Oromo protest sign – crossing both arms above the head. In other towns, people have mounted road blockades amid the protests.

It is not the first time the region has been crippled by such an action. The main opposition Oromo Federalist Congress in August 2017 called for a similar protest which was fully observed.

Its purpose was to remember people who died in spreading anti-government protests. It came days after an October 2016 state of emergency was lifted.

The OFC leader Merera Gudina was at the time in detention facing multiple criminal charges. He has since been released (January 2018) in a move the government said was part of efforts to engender national cohesion.