Is Ethiopia about to crack?[/two_fifth][three_fifth_last padding=”0 0px 0 10px”]For the last decade, it has been one of Africa’s most stable nations, a solid Western ally with a fast-growing economy. But in recent months, antigovernment protests have convulsed the country, spreading into more and more areas. In the last week alone, thousands of people stormed into the streets, demanding fundamental political change.
The government’s response, according to human rights groups, was ruthless. Witnesses said that police officers shot and killed scores of unarmed demonstrators. Videos circulating from protests thought to be from late last year or earlier this year show security officers whipping young people with sticks as they are forced to perform handstands against a wall. The top United Nations human rights official is now calling for a thorough investigation.
“It was always difficult holding this country together, and moving forward, it will be even harder,” said Rashid Abdi, the Horn of Africa project director for the International Crisis Group, a research organization.
Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa, after Nigeria, and its stability is cherished by the West. American military and intelligence services work closely with the Ethiopians to combat terrorist threats across the region, especially in Somalia, and few if any countries in Africa receive as much Western aid.[/three_fifth_last]
FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA[/two_fifth][three_fifth_last padding=”0 0px 0 10px”]Ethiopia is a sovereign state located in the Horn of Africa. It shares a border with Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With nearly 100 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous nation on the African continent after Nigeria. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa
Some of the oldest evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia, which is widely considered the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations settled in the Horn region during the ensuing Neolithic era. Tracing its roots to the 2nd millennium BC, Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. During the first centuries AD, the Kingdom of Aksum maintained a unified civilization in the region, followed by the Ethiopian Empire circa 1137.
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