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October 23, 2018

Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed does press-ups with protesting soldiers

The smiles on the soldiers' faces suggest the prime minister succeeded in defusing the situation amicably. /BBC
The smiles on the soldiers' faces suggest the prime minister succeeded in defusing the situation amicably. /BBC

Ethiopia's prime minister has done press-ups with dozens of protesting soldiers, who marched with guns into his office in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Abiy Ahmed was unhappy that soldiers had brought weapons into his office and ordered them to do 10 press-ups.

They were among several hundred protesting soldiers who entered his office grounds to demand a pay rise.

The situation caused alarm, leading to road closures in the area and the internet to be shut off for hours.

However, the smiles on the soldiers' faces as they performed the press-ups suggest the prime minister succeeded in defusing the situation amicably.

After meeting the soldiers on Wednesday, Abiy said he would "look into their complaints" but stressed that even civil servants had to make to with low salaries as the country had limited resources.

"We have to use the money for development purposes," he said according to a statement.

"We can pay everyone higher salaries but we will end up [with] no development."

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