MN's Oromo community protests, demands justice after prominent Ethiopian singer killed

People gather around a vehicle with people on top.
Members of the Twin Cities' Oromo community stop during a Wednesday evening protest on University Avenue in St. Paul to sing a song by Hachalu Hundessa, who's death spurred the protest.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Hundreds of people protesting the killing of an influential musician and activist in Ethiopia blocked Interstate 94 for hours Wednesday evening.

Hachalu Hundessa was shot and killed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, Monday night. He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to a change in leadership in 2018.

A group of protesters gathered around 6 p.m., and marched on I-94 in St. Paul, demanding justice for Hundessa and the Oromo people. Magarsa Tashoma, who attended the protest, called Hundessa “the voice” for the Oromo community.

"Hachalu Hundessa is one of the greatest people I've known,” Tashoma said. “He talked about the government in front of them, let them know what they were doing and what they were doing to us, how they were oppressing us and all that. And when they took him away from us, they took a father figure."

On Tuesday, about 200 Oromo demonstrators rallied outside the Minnesota State Capitol. In Ethiopia, angry protests were reported and three bombs exploded in the capital, police said Tuesday. “Several people” have been killed in unrest that followed Hundessa’s death, the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

The singer Hundessa is set to be buried Thursday in his hometown in the Oromia region.

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