At least one person was killed and more than 154 people were injured in a grenade attack at a rally attended by more than ten thousands of people in Addis Ababa to support Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda.
The health minister, Amir Aman confirmed the death and said that eight of the 132 people being treated in hospitals across the city were in critical condition.
The prime minister in an address to the nation soon after the attack said that people had been killed and injured in a “well-orchestrated attack.”
“The casualties are martyrs of love, unity, and peace,” he added, urging Ethiopians not to be discouraged and to work toward reforming the country", he said.
The country, rocked in recent years by violent protests, had been in a state of emergency since the previous prime minister’s resignation in February.
Mr. Abiy, one of the youngest leaders in Africa, quickly announced the release of tens of thousands of prisoners and the opening of state-owned companies to private investment.
He also surprised many in Ethiopia, a critical player in the regional fight against terrorism, by taking a major step this month toward calming tensions with Eritrea over their disputed border. He said his government would fully accept the terms of a peace agreement signed in 2000.
Some Ethiopians near the border with Eritrea have protested the proposed deal. The United States is among those expressing support for the changes in a key security ally.
In a Twitter post, the EU mission to Ethiopia expressed "heartfelt condolences" to the Ethiopian people and the government for the victims of the "cowardly attack".
The US Embassy in Addis Ababa also condemned the blast, tweeting: "Violence has no place as Ethiopia pursues meaningful political and economic reforms."