The annual Irreecha festival aka the Oromo thanksgiving was celebrated today in the town of Bishoftu and was concluded peacefully notwithstanding the widespread political protest and opposition among the crowd gathered to partake in the celebration.
Participants of the festival started to arrive in Bishoftu a day earlier and, today they started to flock to Lake Horra (where the traditional festivities would take place) since four in the morning. Hence, starting from early in the morning, the crowd chanted opposition slogans condemning the ruling party (EPRDF) and seen hoisting different flags around the Lake.
Apart from the protest, the participants were also in tune with one-another while appreciating Lemma Megersa, president of the Oromia Regional State, and urging unity among Ethiopians mentioning people of Somali, Amhara, Tigray and other Regional states and the longstanding brotherhood with the Oromos. The Abba Geddas, traditional leaders of the Oromo people, who are entitled to preside over the festivities, were seen arriving at the Lake guarded by the police and leaving the same way immediately after conclusion of the scared ceremony. They did not make speeches or offer traditional blessings unto the people unlike the festivities in the past.
In appreciation of the festivals peaceful conclusion, the Regional Communication Bureau head, AddisuAregga, sent a congratulating message to all the participants on his official facebook account.
It is to be remembered that last year’s Irreecha festivities were marred by a deadly stampede that claimed the lives of more than 50 individuals, leading to the declaration of Day of Mourning for three consecutive days following the festival.