Idd al-Fitr prayers in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa were interrupted after gunfire and tear gas shook a gathering of tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers.
The incident took place outside the international stadium in the heart of the capital , where prayers were scheduled to celebrate the Iddal Fitr holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan.
As the stadium could not be entered due to the stadium being full, some worshipers started up outside to pray in Meskel Square.
“No Christian-Muslim clash”
A member of Addis Ababa’s High Council on Islamic Affairs told AFP that the details of what will happen next What happened are patchy.
Volunteers at the scene, he said, reported that a police officer accidentally fired tear gas at the crowd, sparking a confrontation and “the situation became uncontrollable.” the riots were not a problem between Christians and Muslims.”
Nor did the council say the riots were “linked to the government, as some organizations are trying to do.”
Mohammed Hussein told The EastAfrican that police unexpectedly started firing gunfire and tear gas forced worshipers to flee the event.
” I was at the stadium with two of my friends. We heard several shots coming from outside the stadium,” said Addis Ababa resident Mohammed.
Another eyewitness, Ali Nessredin, said: “As the prayers started , the security forces started firing tear gas standing not far from me.”
“Nobody had any idea what was going on and people started fleeing the area in different directions.”
Angry at the actions of the police, some people drove together chanting slogans that led to riots.
“Angry Protesters then began throwing stones at government buildings, including a national museum on Meskel Square, smashing windows and causing other property damage,” Ali said Children separated from their parents.
“Desperate mothers searched desperately for their lost children, some crying,” Ali added.
Addis Police issued a statement stating that “a Riot” was caused by “few people” and resulted in property damage, but order was now restored.
“Police are calling on the community to remain calm,” it said, adding that she would later inform the public about the cause of the riots.
The police promised to inform the public about what was happening.
Last week, in Gondar, a city in the northwestern region of Amhara, at least 21 people g dead and 150 injured when Muslims at a funeral were attacked by heavily armed “extremist Christians”, an Islamic group there says.
The Amhara regional government imposed a curfew in the historic tourist destination town of Gondar on Saturday, acting as security agents struggled to quell the violence that has spread to neighboring countries.
The number of suspects arrested in connection with the religious violence last Tuesday has risen to 373.
Clashes were also reported between some members of an unnamed armed group and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, who were deployed to the city to quell the violence.