Dozens of deaths during stampede at Ethiopia religious event

BISHOFTU, Ethiopia (AP) - Witnesses say several dozen people have died in a stampede during a religious celebration in a town southeast of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

People at the annual festival in Bishoftu were crushed to death Sunday morning after police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters chanting anti-government slogans as they pushed toward a stage where leaders were speaking.

As festival goers fled, some got crushed in nearby ditches.

An estimated 2 million people were attending the event.

An Associated Press reporter saw people holding up crossed wrists in a gesture of anti-government protest.

Ethiopia has seen several months of sometimes deadly protests by people demanding greater freedoms from the government.

The United States recently expressed concern about the excessive use of force against protesters.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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