Ethiopia Students Riot for Second Day, Two Dead
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Thousands of students clashed with police in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday in a second day of rioting, which has reportedly left two dead and dozens more injured.
Gunfire rang out in the city center as students threw stones at state-owned buildings, blocked roads, stoned and burned vehicles around Addis Ababa, protesting against police brutality and demanding political and academic freedom.
Hospital sources said one student was shot dead on Wednesday and another died on Tuesday, while doctors at city hospitals said they were overwhelmed with injured people.
Tension has been rising since police stormed the campus of Addis Ababa University last week during a student protest over academic and political rights. Many of the striking students were beaten and injured.
Although the authorities gave in to 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.
During Wednesday's rioting shopkeepers boarded up their premises to prevent looting, and pedestrians scurried for cover to avoid flying rocks and stones.
Earlier many students were seen leaving the university campus ahead of a noon (5:00 a.m. EDT) government deadline to resume classes or face dismissal.
The protests were also reported to be spreading to other universities around the country, with students at Mekele University in the north also threatening to go on hunger strike.
Like their Addis counterparts, the students in Mekele are demanding the right to a free press and to hold meetings.
They also want an investigation into the mysterious death of a student found dead last week.