At least 78 people killed in Ethiopian protests last week:Prime minister’s office

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Billene Seyoum, Deputy Press secretary at the office of the Ethiopian Prime Minister addresses a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Reports from Ethiopian Prime minister’s office say at least 78 people lost their lives following the protests that rocked the country last week when a prominent activist’s supporters claimed that he was wrongfully treated.

Billene Seyoum, Deputy Press secretary at the office of the Ethiopian Prime Minister./REUTERS

The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum in a news conference on Thursday said  409 people had been arrested following over the unrest and that investigations were ongoing and the death toll and number detained could rise.

Supporters of activist Jawar Mohammed took to the streets last week to protest against his treatment after he said police had surrounded his home in Addis Ababa and tried to withdraw his government security detail.

Oromo youth chant slogans during a protest in-front of Jawar Mohammed’s house in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 24, 2019./REUTERS

Crowds of young men from his Oromo ethnic group quickly turned their anger against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, also an Oromo, saying that he had betrayed them by mistreating Jawar.

Billene said that at least 78 civilians had died in “a very senseless act of violence” in the Oromiya and Harari regions and the eastern city of Dire Dawa.

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