Ethiopia Political Protests Deadly

Political protests spread from the capital to other parts of Ethiopia, leaving four people dead and 11 wounded, state-run television reported, as the prime minister vowed to prosecute opposition officials after a week of bloody clashes between demonstrators and police.

Friday's casualties occurred in Bahar Dar, the second main city in Ethiopia, the television reported. It was not possible to immediately verify the figures. Scattered gunfire and rioting was also reported in the capital, where doctors said at least two people were wounded.

Police have killed at least 40 people since violent confrontations began Tuesday in the capital, following largely peaceful protests Monday, medical officials said. The medical workers asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation from government officials, who put the number of dead over the week at 24 civilians and seven police officers.

Protests erupted Friday in Dessie, Gondar, Bahar Dar, Arba Minch, Awassa, Dire Dawa; towns that are mainly pro-opposition north and south of the capital, according to Western diplomats, hotel owners and tour operators.

The protesters were calling for an independent investigation into the killings in the capital and the release of political prisoners, according to witnesses.

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