“Qeerroo” (Oromo Youth) – Initiator and Active Participant in the Protest Actions (Ethiopia)


Roza Ismagilova


The article for the first time in Ethiopian Studies analysis the new phenomena in Ethiopia’s politics – the role of the Oromo youth – Qeerroo – in the protests actions 2015 –2018. The word “Qeerroo” in Afaan Oromo means “Youth” (unmarried youth). But now it has new more broad connotation: it means “antigovernment protest actions”. The qeerroo protest movement started in Ambo city (State Oromia) in November 2015 as a protest against so called Master Plan which aimed to allocate enormous plot of land to Addis Ababa municipality (the capital of Ethiopia is in Oromia). But movement was transformed at the Irreecha festival on October 2, 2016 into a sustained demand for an end to the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)’ rule, especially the domination of the Tigray. The slogan:”Down, Down with the Wayyanne/TPLF”, heard at the festival, reverberated through Oromia and other regions of Ethiopia. Government’s reaction – use of military made the situation more complex. There is a few information about the organization of qeerroo – Qeerroo Bilissuma, its structure and leaders. Oromo youth organized different kinds of actions: prevent to supply fuel to cities, “stay-home” riots when all Oromo business in cities and towns was closed, etc. It is the activity of qeerroo made the then Pime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly retire on the 15th of February 2018.


Ethiopia, Oromia, Oromo, youth, Qeerroo, ethnic federalism, Ethiopia Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Front, Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, protest actions, violence




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