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Riots kill 41 in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Hospital sources say 41 people have been killed and 51 injured during two days of rioting in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government has blamed opposition groups for taking advantage of student protests.

Students took to the streets in Addis Ababa over political rights and academic freedom.

But among those also arrested were 40 members of the opposition Ethiopian Democratic Party, party chairman Admassu Gebeyehu said on Friday.

Among those detained was the party's secretary-general, Lidetu Ayalew.

It was not known on what charges they were being held.

The violence on Tuesday and Wednesday was the worst in the Ethiopian capital since 1993.

Security forces opened fire when students began throwing stones are government buildings and setting cars of fire.

Hospital sources said most of the victims died of gunshot wounds.

A doctor at Menelik Hospital said 22 bodies had been brought from the streets to the hospital, adding that 52 people were injured, and that two of those subsequently died.

Tension has been rising since police stormed the campus of Addis Ababa University last week during a student protest. Many of the striking students were beaten and injured.

Although the authorities gave in to many of the students' demands and lifted restrictions on their student council, police maintained a heavy presence on the campus, prompting the students to remain on strike.

The capital was reportedly calm on Friday but the government has warned opposition political parties to "refrain from trying to exploit the situation and promote anarchy in the city," and shut Addis Ababa University indefinitely.



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