Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has appealed to the people of Oromo to stop further anti-government protests, promising that change will come if they are patient.
Speaking to a crowd of thousands at a stadium in the town of Ambo, the hotbed of the three-year-old protests, the 42-year-old said the country was “on the path of change and love”.
After blessings from traditional leaders and a moment of silence in memory of those who died in protests, Reuters quotes Mr Abiy as saying:
“You have expressed your grievances and have made demands. We give you our unwavering commitment to resolving them.But for us to succeed, we also need your unwavering support.”
Police struggled to keep the crowd from bandstand while he was speaking, AFP reports.
The new prime minister, a former army officer, is from the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, and his appointment was seen as a move to appease the protesters.
Demonstrations calling for political and economic reforms have lasted almost three years and have seen thousands arrested.