The unrest was triggered by the murder of popular musician and activist Hachalu Hundessa, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, on Monday night and spread from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the surrounding Oromiya region.
Hundessa was fatally shot by unknown attackers in the Ethiopian capital. His death fueled ethnic tensions in the country.
“In the aftermath of Hachalu’s death, 145 civilians and 11 security forces have lost their lives in the unrest in the region,” Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner of Oromiya region, said in a statement, adding that another 10 were known to have died in Addis Ababa.
Girma also said a further 167 people had sustained serious injuries and that 1,084 people had been taken into custody during the protests.
Ethiopian officials have linked the deaths to a combination of lethal force used by the country’s security forces as well as inter-ethnic violence.
The military was deployed in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday as armed gangs with machetes and sticks roamed the streets in the region and gunshots echoed through many neighborhoods.
Hundessa’s music gave voice to Oromos’ widespread sense of economic and political marginalization during three years of anti-government protests that culminated in the resignation of the previous prime minister and swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018.