Police fire teargas, shots in air at Ethiopia protest

Thousands of people had gathered for the annual Irreecha festival in the town of Bishoftu.

A file picture taken on 15 December 2015 shows Ethiopians from the Oromo group blocking a road in Ethiopia. Picture: AFP.

ADDIS ABABA - Police in Ethiopia fired teargas and shots into the air on Sunday to disperse protesters who chanted anti-government slogans during a festival in a town in the Oromiya region, south of the capital Addis Ababa, witnesses said.

Thousands of people had gathered for the annual Irreecha festival in the town of Bishoftu, which lies in a region where there have been sporadic protests in the past year or more. Witnesses said crowds fled when the police fired, leading to a stampede. Witnesses also said they saw several casualties.

There was no immediate comment from the government.