Around 100 people marched from Regina's city square to the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Friday, calling for an independent and impartial review into the killing of a politically outspoken musician and anti-government activist in Ethiopia.
Samuel Faye spoke to CBC about the march, spurred by the June 29 shooting of Hachalu Hundessa, described by Faye as an independent voice from the Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group.
"It is a political assassination but we don't know who is the killer," Faye said on Friday. "The government has killed hundreds and jailed thousands. That is by their own admission. Therefore, we need justice for that too."
Faye said the Oromo are the largest ethnic group in the east African nation, but said they are also marginalized. The country's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, became the first Oromo person to hold that office in 2018.
There have been more than 230 deaths in the country, most of them civilians, after civil unrest spurred by Hundessa's killing. Nearly 5,000 arrests have been made.
There is currently no access to the internet in the country, after it was shut down by the government.
Political tensions were high in Ethiopia prior to the singer's killing, after the government scrapped elections planned for August due to COVID-19 and extended its term.
Faye referred to Abiy, winner of a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, as a dictator.
"Justice for Hachalu," the Regina crowd, which included demonstrators from outside of Regina, chanted in unison. "Free our people!"
The Associated Press reported on Friday that Ethiopia's attorney general, Adanech Abebe, announced through state media that two people had confessed to Hundessa's killing, allegedly ordered by a group called the Oromo Liberation Army, and were in custody.
The military has been deployed by the country's government to quell the rising violence. Thousands of people have been arrested, including journalists from the Oromia Media Network, Faye noted.
Faye said the outlet had been exiled previously, but it re-emerged when Abiy made reforms, including welcoming home once-banned exile groups.
"People are on the street when COVID-19 is lurking in the communities and we are really worried," he said. "People are suffering economically. Now, safety and the right to live is questioned too."
A statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit advocate for press freedom, said the Oromia Media Network had interviewed the singer about a week before he was killed.
"Authorities should immediately end the internet blackout, free the Oromia Media Network journalists detained in the course of their work, and guarantee that members of the press can report on this moment of protest without fear for their safety or of losing their liberty," the statement said.