Twenty-three students were killed in clashes with police

23 Ethiopian students dead after clash with police

 

ADDIS ABABA, April 19 (Reuters) - Twenty-three students were killed in clashes with police during rioting on Wednesday in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopian medical sources said on Thursday.

 

 Security forces opened fire when thousands of students hurled stones at state-owned buildings, torched cars and looted shops in a second day of protests over academic and political rights and police brutality.

 

Medical sources at Menillike Hospital, which houses the city's main morgue, said most of the dead had suffered gunshot wounds.

 

 "They were young men and women and they were victims of student violence on Wednesday," a hospital source said.

 

 Five of the 52 injured who were being treated in hospital were in serious condition, the source said.

 

 Parents whose children had not returned home gathered at the morgue gates. Families demanded that police tell them the whereabouts of students who were reportedly rounded up and taken away in vans on Wednesday night.

 

The streets were calm on Thursday as shops reopened under the gaze of police patrolling in armoured cars. Security forces took up strategic positions in the city of three million.

 

The Ethiopian government warned opposition political parties on Wednesday to "refrain from trying to exploit the situation and promote anarchy in the city," and shut Addis Ababa University indefinitely.

 

Tensions mounted after police stormed the campus last week during a student protest over academic and political rights. Many of the striking students were beaten and injured.

 

Although the authorities accepted many of the students' demands and lifted restrictions on their student council, police maintained a heavy presence on the campus, prompting the students to remain on strike.

 

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