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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 17:31 GMT
Eyewitness: 'I couldn't help them'
Abnetget (not his real name), 35, an Ethiopian office worker told the BBC News website how he was caught up in the second day of violence that has erupted between police and protesters in the capital city Addis Ababa.

Wounded Ethiopian protester
Hundreds were wounded in the violence
I walked to my office this morning despite feeling frightened by yesterday's violence.

It seemed that things were returning to normal but when I arrived at work I saw that there was a large police presence across the road.

There were more than 100 police - federal and normal - along the side of the roadway on the way to the airport.

The officers and soldiers were well-dressed and all held machine guns.

I guess that there were so many of them for security reasons - back-up in case things got out of control.


Only a few of us had come into the office. The building was empty compared to normal.

We stood around looking out of the windows on the seventh floor.

The Bole Road Highway was deserted apart from a few private cars.

I called some friends who work in the centre of town and they advised me to go home as soon as possible.

They said that there was a lot of gunfire near them, that people were throwing stones and in turn they were being fired on.


Something surprises me about all of this because I do not believe that the opposition is to blame.

The masses are responding to the government. The people as a whole.

You hear that it is the youngsters taking part. Yes they are, of course, but there are also others. Even the elderly.

I took my friends advice to head home.

I tried to catch a taxi. There were none available and so I decided to walk.

There was a lot of people around when my colleagues and I started to move.

Everything seems okay but then things started to change after 20 minutes, in the central area of Addis.


I can't explain what happened.

Ethiopian man, shot in clashes between stone-throwers and riot police is rushed to hospital
Abnetget believes that bullets should not be the response to thrown stones

There were stones on the road and so I am sure that that is what provoked the police.

Gunshots were ringing out and everyone was panicking.

Chaos took over.

We would run a bit then stop and turn round. The police assume that you have a gun if you keep running and so to avoid being shot you have to run a little, walk a little, checking over your shoulder.

There was lots of firing, a lot.

Throwing stones is not a good idea but no matter what, in my opinion, bullets should not be the response to stones.

A bullet came very close to us. I do not know exactly who fired it.

I kept running with the others while the soldiers chased us, shooting towards the running mass.


I was not in control of myself - my wife is five-months pregnant and all I knew is that I had to get home to check that she was alright.

Just on my right side a women was gunned down. She was an elderly well-dressed woman. Then there were other girls behind me.

I blame the opposition and their hunger for power
Ayele Abebe, Addis Ababa

It was my first time seeing people die.

I couldn't help them, I just had to keep rushing to save my life.

I feel so guilty.

I am safe at home now with my wife and she is alright too.

We are in our compound, chatting amongst ourselves and calling our friends to make sure everyone we know is also fine.

I am not sure what will happen tomorrow but I hope that the international community comes to our aid.

They have not, so far, and we are really in deep, deep danger. We need help now, before we are bathing in blood.

After what I went through here in my city today, I take comfort from speaking out about what I saw.

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