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Colorado Ethiopian community marches to commemorate life of Oromo activist, singer

Hundreds of people in Ethiopia have been killed during more than a week of unrest following the death of Hachalu Hundessa.

DENVER, Colorado — Members of Colorado's Ethiopian community marched through Denver Friday afternoon to raise awareness about weeks of unrest in Ethiopia.

The group, led by the Oromo Community of Colorado, marched from Cheesman Park to the State Capitol while commemorating the life of Ethiopian singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa and calling for an end to human rights violations in their country.

Hundessa was shot and killed last week. 

He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed coming to power in 2018. His lyrics encouraging people to resist oppression and fight back became a sort-of rallying cry for the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.  

His death had led to weeks of unrest in the country. The Associated Press reports that at least 239 people have been killed and 3,500 have been arrested in violent protests in Ethiopia. 

Internet service was also cut off in an attempt to dampen the protests, according to the AP.

The marching group in Colorado Friday was "calling upon the U.S. and the international community to stand with the Oromo people and all Ethiopians," an email from the Oromo Community of Colorado reads. 

Specifically, they are asking for:

  • The release of leaders and human rights activists: Bekele Gerba, Jawar Mohammed, Hamza Borana, and many others including: Redwan Aman and Yusuf Beshir -- who are U.S. citizens. 

  • Stop the killing of peaceful Oromo protesters and restore internet service

  • Assign an independent investigation into Hachalu Hundessa's killing and all other human rights violation in Ethiopia 

  • Call on the international community to impose sanctions if the above demands are not met

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