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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 18:41 GMT 19:41 UK
'Deaths' in Ethiopian demonstration
Police confront student demonstrator in Addis Ababa
A year ago, student protests were fiercely suppressed
Between 30 to 60 people were killed and at least 40 injured during a demonstration in Awasa, sources in the town have told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

Government soldiers are said to have opened fire on around 3,000 demonstrators who began marching shortly before midday.

Many of those marching were peasants who came from Awasa's surrounding rural areas.

They were marching to demand what one local described as "their basic human rights".

Curfew

Currently, Awasa town, 250 km south of the capital, Addis Ababa, is administered by representatives of the local ethnic group, the Sidama.

Plans by Ethiopia's central government to shift control of the town to the regional government have angered the Sidama people living in and around Awasa.

They claim the land belongs to their ancestors and by right is theirs.

After today's violence, a curfew has now been imposed on the town which is said to be extremely tense.

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08 May 02 | Africa
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