Skip to main content

Hundreds protest in St. Paul against actions of Ethiopian government


Hundreds of people marched down John Ireland Boulevard toward the Minnesota Capitol Monday, protesting what they call a dictatorship by the Ethiopian government and human rights violations committed against the Oromo people.

The rally is the third of recent #OromoProtests in St. Paul. The first two in December aimed to raise awareness and demand justice for Oromo students killed in anti-government demonstrations in Ethiopia, according to MPR.

Who are the Oromo?

The Oromo people make up the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, accounting for more than one-third of the population. They are also from Northern Kenya and parts of Somalia, with about 38 million members worldwide.

Many Oromo fled East Africa in the 1970s, 80s and 90s seeking political asylum, the majority of whom came to the Twin Cities in the 1990s. Today, an estimated 40,000 Oromo live in Minnesota – which is the largest Oromo community in the US, and possibly in the world outside of Oromia, says the Oromo Community of Minnesota.

Why are they demonstrating?

The Ethiopian government put out a master plan in April 2014 to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, which would result in the forced eviction of Oromo farmers and the loss of valuable arable land, reports Newsweek.

The Oromo people began protesting, and the Ethiopian government has responded with violent force.

Security forces have shot randomly into crowds, killed people during arrests, carried out mass roundups, tortured detainees and killed over 200 demonstrators for protesting the Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan, said Human Rights Watch.

"If I was protesting in Ethiopia, you would have been attending my funeral today" read one of the signs at a Minnesota December demonstration, reported MPR.

In January, the Ethiopian government scrapped the expansion plan, yet the Oromo still have grievances against their government and are suffering from systematic oppression.

The regime has shut the Oromo out of top government and industry jobs and detained journalists, the Pioneer Press reports. Amnesty International released a report in October 2014 stating that 5,000 Oromo were jailed by the government over a three-year period for participating, or planning to participate, in protests.

“It’s very clear that in Oromia today there’s massive human rights violations and anyone who expresses dissent against the government – questioning their policies or their plans – inevitably ends up targeted, arrested, sometimes worse,” Human Rights Watch researcher Felix Horne told Newsweek.

Support from Minnesota

This February, Minnesota's U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and Tom Emmer sent letters to Secretary of State John Kerry (that can be read here and here respectively).

The letters condemn the Ethiopian government's actions and encourage the U.S. to use aid money as leverage to pressure the country into discontinuing human rights abuses.

Next Up

D'Angelo Russell

Wolves rebound with statement win against Bucks

D'Angelo Russell and the Timberwolves bounced back with a win over the defending champs.

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 7.08.20 PM

Train carrying ethanol derails in southern Minnesota

The State Fire Marshal has sent in experts to help with the situation.


Motorcyclist dies a month after striking deer in Minnesota

The crash happened north of Mankato near the small town of Norseland.

fire pixabay stock

House explosion kills 1, severely injures another

Authorities described the home as "completely destroyed."

Kotyza-Witthuhn screengrab

Watch: MN lawmaker 'attacked' by giggling child during live hearing

This has to be the most adorable moment ever from a Commerce Finance and Policy Committee hearing, right?

Sloane Martin

Sloane Martin leaving WCCO Radio for bigger role with Big Ten Network

Martin has been a staple at WCCO Radio since Election Day 2016.

Flickr - Xcel Energy truck - Tony Webster

Xcel Energy wants to raise MN customers' electricity rates

If approved, rates go up by an average of $18.50 a month for customers.

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 1.11.05 PM

MPD chief 'confident' officers will still show up after Question 2 vote

Arradondo held a press conference Wednesday in which he urged for a 'No' vote.

J R Jones - Anoka County Jail 2021.10.16 - Resize crop

Charges: Driver in fatal hit-and-run said he thought he hit dog or sign

The crash killed a 56-year-old Blaine woman who had been out walking her dog.

vaccine, covid

Here is Minnesota's plan to vaccinate kids 5-11 against COVID-19

The plan includes hosting vaccination clinics at schools across the state.

Mounds View PD missing 12yo Riddley

12-year-old Twin Cities boy has been missing for 4 days

Police are asking for the public's help locating the child,