Photo: Ethiopian ObserverViolent protests and unrest in Ethiopia’s southern region of Sidama Zone have resulted in the deaths of 34 people. Much of the tension surrounds the Sidama Liberation Movement, a political organization that aims to ensure Sidama peoples’ (an ethnic group in the region) national self-determination within Ethiopia. A majority of the bloodshed occurred during a protest Friday, July 19, that was headed to meet the federal police in reaction to the killing of a young man the day before. Federal police opened fire on the protesters when they arrived, resulting in 14 deaths.
According to the Ethiopian Observer, the following days resulted in widespread violent protests across the region, targeting non-Sidama ethnic communities. Several houses, government buildings, a factory and vehicles were damaged in fires, and shops have also been looted.
Sidama is known for high-quality unique varietals on small pieces of land, delivered to processing sites resulting in “mixed heirloom” blends. Even in light of the unrest, representatives from green coffee company Trabocca, who work directly with Ethiopian farmers, tell Fresh Cup that the region’s coffee community and crop itself will be unaffected.