The crush began as protesters chanted anti-government slogans and pushed toward a stage where religious leaders were speaking. A lot of people, about two million, were attending the annual Irreecha event in Bishoftu town southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa.
The Oromo People celebrate Irreecha to thank Waaqa (God) for the blessings and mercies they have received throughout the previous year. Irreecha means also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature. Banned for decades from being celebrated by the previous regimes of the Ethiopian colonialists, the Irreecha festival was reinstated in 1992 This was not the first time when celebration in Bishoftu has been overshadowed by politic factors. After the incident many people were taken to hospitals. The months of anti-government protests in several parts of Ethiopia and the sometimes harsh government response has raised international concern.