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Monday, June 13, 2005

Death Toll from Ethiopia Violence at 36, Over 3000 Under Arrest

The death toll reached 36 from recent clashes between demonstrators and police in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, while over 3,000 persons have been arrested in connection with last week's protests against election fraud, sources said Monday.

Yirdaw Ashagari, medical director of Menelik Hospital, said the increased death toll came as four persons died overnight from their wounds.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council also disclosed Monday that of the more than 3,000 persons arrested, over 500 include students of Addis Ababa University detained for staging illegal demonstrations since Monday last week.

The Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), one of the two main opposition parties that the government accused of instigating the disturbances, said Monday that close to 3,600 of its supporters had been illegally arrested since the May 15 elections.

These include 14 of the Coalitions secretarial staff in Addis Ababa and two rural branches and two top officials under house arrest.

In a related development, talks began Monday between the ruling ERDF Party and the two main opposition parties - the CUD and the Union of Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) - on an investigation by a panel of legal experts into complaints of election irregularities in the 299 constituencies.

The three political parties had signed an EU- brokered agreement Friday on resolving their differences over the election results through existing regulations of the National Electoral Board, and if need be, through recourse to the courts of law.

ReliefWeb

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