Support rally for Ethiopia's new PM Abiy Ahmed disrupted by grenade attack

Ethiopia's TPLF welcomes Eritrea's decision to discuss border dispute

Ethiopia's TPLF welcomes Eritrea's decision to discuss border dispute

Earlier, the government said it had unblocked 264 websites and TV channels.

Local media have quoted police in saying hundred people were injured, 15 seriously and it is being treated as an assassination attempt.

Ahmed, who was whisked away by guards after the incident, described it as an "unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united", BBC reported. A senior police officer said 100 were wounded.

But it was later suggested by his chief of staff that no-one had died.

"You need to stop doing this", he said, directing his remarks at unnamed perpetrators.

"The incident is going to unite the people more and put the hardliners who want to obstruct his changes in a more hard position". "You weren't successful in the past and you won't be successful in the future", he said.

Abiy had just wrapped up his speech in the heart of the capital Addis Ababa when the explosion went off, sending the crowds towards the stage as the prime minister left hurriedly, apparently safe and sound.

"Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat", he said. Uhuru said on Saturday.




Mr Abiy only became prime minister after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned in February.

"[He] has instituted enough socioeconic and political reforms, [which makes it] unlikely to respond to the attack today by instituting some of the repressive measures which he has lifted since his tenure [began]", he told Al Jazeera.

In the past three months, Abiy has made major changes in Ethiopia including shaking up the security services, releasing jailed dissidents, moving to liberalise the economy and to resolve a two-decade conflict with arch-enemy Eritrea.

Since taking office about two months ago, Abiy, 42, has started implementing a peace deal agreed with Eritrea 18 years ago to end a border war that has killed nearly 100,000 people.

The blast came just as the master of ceremonies was welcoming viewers from overseas and said in English "this is the day that Ethiopia has become proud".

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.

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.

On Wednesday, Fitsum on Twitter said Abiy had "thanked and congratulated" Eritrea's president for the positive response and "expressed his readiness to welcome warmly and with considerable goodwill" the Eritrean delegation.

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