The Latest: 'Few people' dead in Ethiopia blast at PM rally

June 23, 2018 - 4:04 am

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Latest on rally for Ethiopia's reformist new prime minister (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

Ethiopia's reformist new prime minister says "a few people have lost their lives" and others have been injured in the explosion that went off shortly after he spoke to a huge rally of supporters in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is addressing the nation as police investigate the blast that occurred just after he finished speaking and was waving to the crowd of tens of thousands.

An Associated Press reporter has seen more than a dozen injured people.

Ethiopians heartened by a wave of reforms under Abiy had packed Meskel Square in a show of support with numbers unseen in recent years in the East African nation.

The rally has now broken up with people singing, chanting and going back to their homes.

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10:45 a.m.

Ethiopia's reformist new prime minister is expected to address the nation shortly after an explosion disrupted a huge rally where he had been addressing supporters.

An Associated Press reporter has seen more than a dozen injured people. Footage showed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed being rushed from the scene by security guards.

One organizer of the rally, Seyoum Teshome, says on Facebook that "Prime Minister Abiy and other guests who came in attendance are all fine."

The blast occurred just after Abiy finished his address and was waving to the crowd of tens of thousands in a packed square in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The state broadcaster quickly cut away from coverage of the rally, which has broken up with people singing, chanting and going back to their homes.

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10:10 a.m.

An explosion has disrupted a large rally by supporters of Ethiopia's new, reformist prime minister, with the state broadcaster reporting that a few people have been injured.

Ambulances are at the scene in packed Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been addressing thousands of supporters.

The explosion occurred shortly after Abiy finished speaking and was waving to the crowd.

The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and quickly surprised Africa's second most populous country by announcing a wave of political and economic reforms.

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9:45 a.m.

Ethiopians heartened by a wave of reforms under a new prime minister have packed a square in the capital in a show of support with numbers unseen in recent years in the East African nation.

In a cowboy hat and T-shirt, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is addressing the crowd in Addis Ababa's Meskel Square as supporters wear clothes displaying his image and carry signs saying "One Love, One Ethiopia."

The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and quickly surprised Africa's second most populous country by announcing the release of tens of thousands of prisoners, the opening of state-owned companies to private investment and the unconditional embrace of a peace deal with rival Eritrea.

The United States is among those expressing support for the changes in a key security ally.

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