borkena, Ethioian News
Ethiopians of Oromo speaking origin celebrated Irreecha festival in Bishoftu (DebreZeit) earlier today. Images and videos shared on social media indicate that the traditional Oromo religious festival is attended by millions of people from the surrounding regions.
More than 100 civilians were killed during the 2016 Irreecha festival when government security forces triggered what seemed like a stampede. The massacre was followed by widespread protests in across Ethiopia which led to a state of emergency that lasted for nearly a year.
There was a reported protest during this year’s Irreecha festival as well. And anti-government slogans were shouted.
Two years ago, the protest was triggered by Addis Ababa City Masterplan. But radical Oromo activists seem to demand more and are pushing for radical agenda exploiting government structure which is ethnic based.
Video published by DW service shows people who gathered for the celebration chanting anti-government slogans. But no reports of casualty or arrest so far. Government media outlets reported that Irrecha was celebrated “peacefully.”
Earlier, the government announced that no security forces would be deployed to the area where the Irreecha celebration takes place. However, there are credible reports that the government deployed the military to the towns outside of Bishoftu (Debrezeit) town and security checks were installed in the outskirts of Bishoftu.
Irreecha, according to Oromo traditions, is a Thanksgiving holiday which commemorates the end of the rainy season. However, it is neither a Christian nor Islamic traditions. Ethiopians celebrate New Year at the end of the rainy season which is followed by Meskel festival – the commemoration of the finding of the true cross according to the Christian tradition in Ethiopia.
Although Irreecha has been celebrated for centuries, the holiday is appearing more like a political creation rather than a purely traditional cultural festival.
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