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Unrest in Ethiopia: tear gas at the funeral of engineer Simegne Bekele



Bekeles body reached the Meskelplatz the city around 11 clock local time in a garland decorated with hearses, followed by about 50 white cars. Witnesses told CNN that some members of the crowd became angry after being prevented from going to church in Bekel's coffin, where he was to be laid to rest.

"For about 20 minutes, they shouted that this government is not yet democratic," said Bisrat Teshome, 35, an economist who was on the court.

Several demonstrators then attempted to climb a pole and replace the current Ethiopian flag bearing a star with an older version without the emblem in an act of political resistance.

The star is a symbol of diversity and unity, but it has long been public nuisance that it was added to the flag without proper guidance, Teshome said.

"They (the police) started to throw tear gas between people, and then everyone ran away, it was the first time I had seen tear gas," Teshome said.

A handful of people were taken to hospital

When CNN contacted the police to investigate the tear gas, an unidentified speaker refused to comment and hung up the phone. Subsequent attempts to get a comment from the Ethiopian police have so far been unsuccessful.

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered in Bekel's funeral on Meskel Square ̵

1; the same place his body had been found three days earlier in an assassination attempt.

There were shouts in the capital as the gathering called for a thorough investigation into Bekel's death.

The security of the state funeral was extremely tight, streets around the square were closed and armed soldiers lined the streets.

A popular figure

Bekele was a very popular figure that became synonymous with the country's ambitious flagship project, a source of national pride.

"This guy was the hope of the Ethiopians," said Abel Wabella, 31, editor-in-chief of Gobena Street's news site, who was at the funeral. "He had been telling people about this mega-project for seven years, everyone knew who he was."

A huge brass band led Bekeles coffin through the city to the Holy Trinity Church, where he was buried next to Emperor Haile Selassie I, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.

In a country shattered by tribal politics, Bekeles' funeral was a connective factor that crossed ethnic boundaries.

"All ethnic groups in Ethiopia are sad and upset about what happened to him," said Wabella. "The people here are not Amhara (Bekel's tribal group)."

  Funeral procession of Simegnev Bekele hands over the Foreign Ministry in Addis Ababa.

A time of revolutionary change

Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April, Ethiopia has undergone an unprecedented change.

This is the third time that the public has gathered massively at Meskel Square, while Abyy's term as Leader of the Nation.

In just over three months, Abiy released thousands of political prisoners, ended the war with Eritrea, pledged to open the economy, and just this weekend visited Ethiopian immigrants in Washington, DC to ask them to return to the country Building the democratic future of the country to help.

But while there is currently optimism in Ethiopia, there is also caution.

At a rally that visited Abi on Meskel Square in June, an explosion killed two people and injured more than 150. The following day, citizens organized a massive rally in the same location to demonstrate their support for Abiyy's reforms. 19659002] Abiy is Ethiopia's first Prime Minister of the Oromo ethnic group, which makes up about a third of the 100 million Africans. His appointment by the ruling coalition of the country was seen as a step to calm the divisions between the Oromo and other ethnic groups.

The Grand Renaissance Dam

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of Africa's most ambitious infrastructure projects, affirming Ethiopia's goal to become a major regional player and major energy exporter

generate around 6,000 megawatts of electricity for home use and export on the Blue Nile.

  Ethiopia's $ 5 Billion Project to Turn It into Africa's Hydroelectric Plant

The most striking aspect of the nearly $ 5 billion company is that it is fully funded by Ethiopia, without foreign investment. According to the authorities, 20% of the project will be financed by loan offerings to Ethiopians and the remaining 80% will come from tax revenues.

Belachew Mekuria, head of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said that everyone in the country feels they have contributed to the dam – a reason why Bekel's death has shaken the nation so much.

"This project means a lot It means saying no to Ethiopia's characterization as a land of famine, as a land of poor people," he said.

In short, he said the dam's success would symbolize "Ethiopia's future."


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