Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed does press-ups with protesting soldiers


Screen grab of PM doing press-upsImage copyright
Walta TV

Image caption

The smiles on the soldiers’ faces suggest the prime minister succeeded in defusing the situation amicably

Ethiopia’s prime minister has done press-ups with dozens of protesting soldiers, who marched with guns into his office in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Abiy Ahmed was unhappy that soldiers had brought weapons into his office and ordered them to do 10 press-ups.

They were among several hundred protesting soldiers who entered his office grounds to demand a pay rise.

The situation caused alarm, leading to road closures in the area and the internet to be shut off for hours.

Many Ethiopians wondered whether this amounted to a serious security breach, says BBC Amharic’s Jibat Tamirat.

However, the smiles on the soldiers’ faces as they performed the press-ups suggest the prime minister succeeded in defusing the situation amicably:

After meeting the soldiers on Wednesday, Mr Abiy said he would “look into their complaints” but stressed that even civil servants had to make to with low salaries as the country had limited resources.

“We have to use the money for development purposes,” he said according to a statement. “We can pay everyone higher salaries but we will end up [with] no development.”

Who is Abiy Ahmed?

He came to power in April after three years of protest led by ethnic Oromos, who were demanding an end to what they called political and economic marginalization.

The prime minister, who is Oromo himself, has quickly gained a reputation as a reformist, making peace with neighbouring Eritrea and releasing the state’s tight grip on some economic sectors.

He has released thousands of political prisoners and unbanned groups, including the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which had been labelled terrorist organisations.



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