Tear gas fired to quell clashes over flags

Clashes in Ethiopia over flags
The clashes were sparked by objections to OLF supporters displaying the flag and colours of their movement.

Police have fired tear gas in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to disperse people in the wake of clashes between supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and supporters of Ginbot 7, an opposition political organization, founded in 2008 by Berhanu Nega and Andargachew Tsige.

Addis Ababa’s commercial centre has become a ghost town with business centres, cafes, shops all closed. Police have surrounded the area.

The clashes were sparked by objections by supporters of Ginbot 7 to OLF supporters displaying the flag and colours of their movement.

The OLF is preparing to welcome its leadership back to the country on Saturday. Both the OLF and Ginbot 7 among organisations designated as terrorist organisations by the governement but that designation has been dropped as part of reforms brought in by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The prime minister appeared yesterday on state TV to urge the youth to stop fighting over petty differences, adding that the battle over flags could be settled through dialogue.

There have been reports on social media that clashes have continued in some outlying parts of Addis Ababa.

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