Tensions are high in Ethiopia’s north-western cities of Gondar and Bahir Dar ahead of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Epiphany (Timket) celebrations that begin this evening and end tomorrow evening, the Amsterdam-based opposition Ethiopian Satellite TV has reported.
It added that residents in the two cities, both tourist attractions and places of historical interest, were refusing to join in the celebrations, saying they were still mourning the killing of some 400 people by government forces during protests that rocked the two cities and other parts of Ethiopia in the past year.
The government blamed the violence on “terrorists” trying to destabilize Ethiopia.
Timket celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and its best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism.
Gondar and Bahir Dar residents have resolved to celebrate the festival indoors fearing a repeat of the deadly violence during Irecha, an Oromo cultural festival, in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016.
Following this incident, the government has reportedly deployed a large number of soldiers in the area.