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Photos: Thousands welcome Ethiopian prime minister to Minneapolis

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Supporters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed cheer.
Supporters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wave Ethiopian and American flags while waiting for him to speak inside Target Center in Minneapolis on Monday, July 30, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

The prime minister of Ethiopia received a warm welcome when he visited Minneapolis Monday. Thousands of supporters and overjoyed members of Minnesota's large Ethiopian community celebrated the visit.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was scheduled to appear at Target Center at 2:30 p.m. but did not appear until nearly 5 p.m.

That didn't diminish the crowd's enthusiasm, though. As the prime minister spoke supporters applauded and cheered. There were groups that also danced and carried large Ethiopian and U.S. flags.

On his U.S. trip, Abiy is inviting Ethiopians who fled the country due to decades of political violence and turmoil to get involved again with the country's development. One of his stated goals is to bring democracy to Ethiopia by opening up the country's political landscape, liberalizing its economy and reviewing ethnic federalism — the country's way of dividing districts and towns into zones under the control of particular ethnic groups.