Thousands of Ethiopians march against Islamic extremism

Ahaza Kassaye, the mother of one of the victims identified as Eyasu Yikunoamlak, told The Associated Press during the protest Wednesday that she was overwhelmed by the massive turnout.

“I’m happy now. I’m very happy. I was just mourning the death of my son with family members and my neighbors. I never expected this to happen,” she said.

Ahaza, who had to seek shelter in a cafe when the protest turned violent, said she hoped the government would react to the killings by closing all illegal border crossings and arresting suspected human traffickers.

Even as the Islamic State killings have roiled many here, some young people in Addis Ababa said they they would still attempt the perilous journey to Europe, often via Sudan and then Libya, if they had enough money to cover the smugglers’ fees.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that, while poverty was the root cause of the migrations, smugglers were to blame for encouraging poor people to pursue what he called “the death journey.”

Ethiopian lawmakers on Tuesday were debating a possible response to the Islamic State killings, but it remains unclear if military action is an option. The government has announced three days of nation-wide mourning over the killings.

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