At least 14 people, including two policemen, had been confirmed killed and 40 others wounded on Wednesday as clashes between riot police and opposition supporters entered the second day in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, medical sources said.
As violence spread, unconfirmed reports put the number of people killed on Wednesday alone at 10. There were fears the number could rise further.
The fighting, which erupted on Tuesday, spread to different areas of the city as hundreds of police were deployed to deal with the situation.
Fifteen officials of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) had been arrested, according to a party official.
Eight of the dead, including the two policemen, were killed during clashes on Tuesday. Doctors at the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa said the facility had received another six bodies from Wednesday's violence.
"We are very sorry. It was a sad situation in the country because we have lost eight and there are many injuries," Information Minister Berhan Hailu said early on Wednesday.
"We hope the situation will improve, but the cause of this problem is the action of CUD," said Berhan, who asserted that the opposition leadership had been brought "under police control".
Several buses were set on fire during the rioting, and shops and schools remained closed.
The clashes erupted a day after police arrested and revoked the licenses of 30 taxi drivers who had taken part in renewed protests against the results of the elections held in May.
In June, police killed at least 42 people during demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud.
"There has been gunfire, and rioters are clashing with the police. There are riot police who have been stoned," Adam Melaku, head of the independent Ethiopia Human Rights Council, reported on Tuesday.
"The CUD has called for these demonstrations. It is part of their plan to disrupt peace and stability in the country," Berhan maintained.
The riots began on the day the government threatened legal action against the CUD, which had been boycotting Ethiopia's parliament. The party said it wanted a solution to the contested results of the parliamentary election before taking up its seats.
The party won 109 seats in the 547-member Council of People's Representatives. Opposition parties have claimed that hundreds of their supporters and members have been arrested in the past two months.
Opposition spokesman Gizachew Shiferaw said police used excessive force to quell the disturbances.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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