Ethiopian zenashe explains A bustling city 100 km south of Addis Abeba, Adama is the second most important administrative city next to Addis Abeba. It was once made to become the capital of the Oromiya regional state, a politically toxic decision that cost the lives of unaccounted numbers of Oromo university students in the hands of security forces during a protest in 2001 against the decision. Since then, Adama is “under the vigilant supervision of the federal government,” says a professor at the Adama Science and Technology University, the largest of its kind.
Oromo protests at the university began the last week of November. It started with the students demanding the University for the withdrawal of the increasing numbers of federal and regional police forces from the compound. According to a civilian security of the campus gate, who wishes to remain anonymous, the police became suspicious about the demands and started checking the students thoroughly upon leaving and coming in to the compass. That set off the protest.
But instead of the usual confrontation between unarmed students and police officers armed to the teeth, the students did an unexpected display of solidarity with Oromo student protestors, by now happening in more than 50 cities, according to campaigners and activists. More than 600 students at the Adama Science and Technology University gathered at the canteen for lunch and received their lunches but left every single plate of it untouched.
It became an act of solidarity widely repeated around several university campuses including here at the Addis Abeba University main campus.
But that peaceful display of solidarity didn’t spare the students from gun shots. Hana who works in the administrative department of the campus and wanted to be called by her given name only, told Addis Standard that she heard “guns being fired at around freshmen dormitories.” For the next three days, the campus was a scene of despair and chaos, but also persistent protest. Although the protests didn’t spread to the town, many students were “wounded by bullets”, according to Nahom Endale, a 3rd year marketing student; many have also left the campus; it is unclear who will show up and who will not when this is over.