Ethiopia PM ‘burying rival’ not inciting violence

Image copyright AFP Image caption The image of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister rejected the idea that the post would trigger unrest

An image circulating on social media of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed burying his enemy is not an incitement to violence, says the prime minister’s spokeswoman.

In the black and white image the prime minister, who is often referred to as the “revolutionary” Abiy, appears to be burying a coffin marked with the name of a rival politician.

While his image was used to promote the event, it is believed to have been taken from a public speech.

It has been seen as a symbol of social tension in Ethiopia.

According to the Daily Caller, one of the largest US news organisations, it has received over 200,000 retweets and more than 1.5 million likes since Sunday.

This fuelled a nationalist sentiment on social media in Ethiopia, and created fear among some Ethiopians that it would lead to unrest.

Image copyright SONIA IFEPEI Image caption There has been an increase in the numbers of ethnic groups and clans speaking their own languages

The hashtag #DispourConfeIaEmekmahkil (Don’t Gather Against Us) was trending on Twitter.

Many spoke out against having even heard of the burial ceremony. Some questioned the significance of such a move.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Ethiopia has faced problems with deadly crackdowns on journalists and opposition figures

Ethiopia has been living through a new era of reform after the overthrow of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last April.

Mr Abiy was appointed prime minister shortly after and took office in April.

He quickly made major political concessions to the opposition and extended some civil liberties, including the freeing of journalists and opposition politicians.

Ethiopia is in the midst of the first constitutional referendum in 30 years, the first voting of its kind in the country’s history.

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