Unconfirmed reports of killings during rare protest in Asmara
According to several online news reports, security forces dispersed a protest with live ammunition in Eritrea's capital, Asmara, on 31st October 2017. In addition, a member of the diaspora opposition group Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization was quoted by several media outlets as saying that at least 28 protesters were killed, although we stress that, at the time of publication, this information has not been independently verified. On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Asmara issued a statement, warning its nationals it had received reports of gunfire in several locations of Asmara due to protests. Videos emerged on social media of a running crowd in Harnet Avenue, close to the President's Office, while gunfire is heard.
The protest, an event which remains extremely rare in Eritrea, is said to relate to the government interference in the administration of the Al Diaa Islamic School, located in the Akria district of Asmara. According to Human Rights Concern - Eritrea, the board director of the school, Hajji Musa Mohamed Nur, was arrested on 20th October after he spoke to a community meeting on the government's plans to seize and close the school. A video of Nur speaking to the affected community also circulated on social media.
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