Uptick in church burnings raises alarm in Ethiopia

PRI- Churches belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) are being burned to the ground throughout Ethiopia — one of the world’s most religious countries, where about 98% of Ethiopians claim a religious affiliation. Church members have also reportedly been killed while trying to protect their churches. 

These incidents of arson and murder come at a time when tensions between the country’s ethnic groups  —  including Oromo, Amhara and Tigrayan — are already high. Since the end of 2015, Oromo people have protested against land encroachment by the government, while the Amhara people have protested over regional integrity threats by their Tigrayan neighbors.

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The government and EOTC leaders met recently in a series of hurried meetings to discuss the uptick in threats to the EOTC in the face of huge protests planned in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Sept. 15, 2019, to speak out against the attacks. Authorities did not permit demonstrations in the capital but protesters turned out in massive numbers in Gondar, and other cities. 

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