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Monday, 30 April, 2001, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Police raid Addis campus
Burnt out cars in Addis Ababa
Signs of the recent riots in Addis Ababa are still evident
By Nita Bhalla in Addis Ababa

Hundreds of police entered the Addis Ababa University campus on Monday to break up a student meeting called to discuss a return to class.


We were frightened, so we pretended that we wanted to go back to class

Student
Witnesses say the students dispersed as they saw the approaching police who were wearing helmets and armed with riot shields and wooden batons.

This is the latest incident in the three-week stand off between the students and the Ethiopian authorities.

About 3,000 students were rounded up and detained by police two weeks ago. Most of them were freed at the end of last week.

The students say they will not return to classes until their detained colleagues are released.

'Chaos'

One member of staff who wished to remain anonymous, said that the campus was in "complete chaos" as the students fled in all directions as they were pursued by the police.

Detained students
The students want their detained colleagues to be released
Some tried to hide in their dormitories, others in their department offices and some jumped over a wall into the neighbouring St Mark's Church.

The police pursued the students and gathered almost two thirds of the group that had been meeting.

"We were frightened, so we pretended that we wanted to go back to class, but some of the braver ones said that they would not resume class until all our friends had been released.

"There were about 15 of them and they were taken by the police," said one student.

The students claim that the police then divided them into groups according to their year and their department.

It is believed the police were looking for the ringleaders of the student movement, who the government says have their own political motives for disrupting education.

"The security forces had a list of names and took our identity cards in an attempt to find the students on their list. But they only found a few," said another student.

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See also:

26 Apr 01 | Africa
Ethiopian students released
21 Apr 01 | Africa
Anger over Ethiopian detainees
18 Apr 01 | Africa
More clashes in Addis Ababa
17 Apr 01 | Africa
'Brutal' attack by Addis police
21 Mar 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ethiopia
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