Large protests broke out in the Ethiopian region of Oromiya a few days ago. Growers fled their nurseries as a precaution. Rebels invaded several companies, but they didn’t cause much damage. At the moment, it seems like calm has been restored again in Ethiopia.
In Ziway, the largest horticultural area in Ethiopia, the turmoil began early on Wednesday morning. Growers received a warning about possible unrest at 7 a.m. “Two hours later, all hell broke loose”, described one entrepreneur in Ziway. Rebels – mostly young people – entered several nurseries. The unrest continued on Thursday. The damage was limited to a few bent roses, according to one of the local growers. There wasn’t any damage to machines and nothing was set on fire.
The unrest was felt in all cities and villages in Oromiya, including Ziway. A total of 67 people died. The deaths didn’t occur at horticultural companies. At present, calm seems to have been restored. The army intervened. The different parties, including activist Jawar Mohammed, agreed to end the riots. Growers haven’t been able to harvest the normal number of flowers because of the unrest and they couldn’t send any flowers to their buyers.
By way of precaution, the growers were escorted in convoy to the capital city of Addis Ababa on Thursday.
The protests weren’t aimed at the flower farms in particular, or foreign companies in general. The background of the riots was a political one. The people taking to the streets were mostly supporters of activist Jawar Mohammed. He used to be an ally of current prime minister Abiy Ahmed. However, Jawar has turned against Abiy, because he no longer believes in the prime minister’s promises with regards to reforms, according to Reuters. The press office spoke with Jawar, who doesn’t rule out participation in the Ethiopian elections next May.