Oromo regional police officers wait in a pick up car during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016. / AFP / Zacharias ABUBEKER
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Ethiopia began three days of national mourning Monday for 52 people who were killed in a stampede at a religious festival after police clashed with anti-government protesters, according to state-controlled media.Chaos erupted after police charged protesters among those at the festival and fired tear gas, triggering a stampede.The regional government said in a statement that 52 people had died after panic swept through the massive crowd, with some festival-goers falling into a deep ravine.Every year millions of people in the Oromo region mark the Irreecha festival on the shores of Lake Harsadi, which they consider sacred.Together, Oromos and Amharas make up 60 percent of the population of the Horn of Africa nation and have become increasingly vocal in rejecting what they see as the disproportionate power wielded by the northern Tigrean minority in government and the security forces.
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