Ethiopia PM asks protesters for patience

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Ethiopia's new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

AFP

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has visited the hotbed of recent anti-government protests, promising that change will come if people are patient.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands at a stadium in the town of Ambo, the 42-year-old said the country was “on the path of change and love”, the AFP news agency reports.

Crowds at stadium in Ambo

AFP

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.

Men in traditional Oromo clothing also performed during the rally:

Men in traditional Oromo clothing perform during the rally of Ethiopia's new Prime Minister in Ambo

AFP

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

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