Tens of hundreds of Ethiopian Muslims gathered at a central sq. in Addis Ababa on Tuesday night time for an enormous night iftar meal, praying for peace at a time of nationwide upheaval.
The occasion, the primary of its type within the capital, got here as Africa’s second-most populous nation gears for elections deliberate for early June regardless of a six-month-old struggle within the northern Tigray area and protracted ethnic violence in a number of different hotspots.
“There are numerous issues that fear us as a nation, so we needed to unite and pray,” 30-year-old Firdus Mentioned advised AFP because the sundown over worshippers kneeling earlier than plates piled with dates, bread and yoghurt cartons.
“We want the nation to be peaceable and we wish our home unity to be strengthened,” she added.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, despatched troops into Tigray in November to oust the once-dominant regional ruling celebration, the Tigray Folks´s Liberation Entrance (TPLF).
He mentioned the transfer got here in response to TPLF assaults on military camps.
His tenure has additionally seen persistent strife among the many nation´s numerous ethnic teams, a pattern that analysts worry may worsen through the charged election cycle.
Muslims make up about one-third of the nation’s inhabitants of 110 million, outnumbered by Orthodox Christians.
Tuesday’s occasion, the Grand Ethiopian Avenue Iftar, was initially imagined to occur on Sunday night time, however safety forces wielding batons and tear gasoline broke it up.
The federal government mentioned the altercations had been the results of a miscommunication between officers and organisers, however some Muslim leaders mentioned they took offence on the slight.
“We had been actually saddened by what occurred… we had been asking ourselves if we had been Ethiopian or not,” Firdus mentioned.
Samir Ahmed, one of many occasion’s organisers, mentioned the target was to throw one of many greatest public iftars within the nation’s historical past.
The proceedings on Tuesday finally unfolded with none signal of tensions.
“They didn´t throw a single stone as a result of they’re a peaceable individuals, and for that, the Muslim neighborhood must be praised,” 28-year-old Mustafa Jada mentioned of the assembled worshippers.
“Additionally a few of our Christians brothers suggested us to try this and I need to thank them.”