Police Clash With Students in Ethiopia

Police raided a technical college Tuesday in Ethiopia's capital, firing rubber bullets and beating up students defying a government ban on protests.

It was the second day police and students have clashed over disputed election results that gave the ruling party control of parliament. One girl was killed and seven people were wounded in Monday's violence. Hundreds were arrested.

On Tuesday, about 200 youths gathered outside the college in Addis Ababa (search), throwing rocks at passing vehicles and demanding the release of students detained Monday. Police responded by charging into the crowd in an armored truck and clubbing protesters using butts of their rifles and batons.

Some 100 students inside the college were rounded up. Many students were escorted off campus by police. One student with a gunshot wound in the stomach was hospitalized in critical condition, doctors said.

Construction workers threw rocks at police in support of the students, but several of them were soon arrested, as well as other non-students who joined the protest Tuesday. About 50 people were taken away to be charged.

"The police came running into the college, beating students and hitting them over their heads with their batons. It was very scary and they were very aggressive and did not want to calm the situation down. It didn't last long, only five to 10 minutes, because we are young and they had guns and batons," said Liya Tsion, 17, a student of information technology.

Vice Principal Assefa Akirso said the police should have consulted teachers before storming the building.

"The police were supposed to confirm with us they were going to come into the building, but they didn't," Assefa said. "I don't think it was fair what happened, but some of the students had been throwing stones."

Demonstrations have been banned since election day, when police in the capital were put under the control of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (search). His party retained control of parliament, according to results that have not yet been ratified, but opposition parties alleged there was widespread election fraud.

The elections had been seen as a test of Meles' commitment to reform his sometimes authoritarian regime. Before questions surfaced about the count, European Union observers had called the campaign and voting "the most genuinely competitive elections the country has experienced," despite some human rights violations.

The student unrest was caused by the ruling party attempts to defraud the public, opposition leaders said Tuesday.

"It should be obvious that brute force can neither be a solution to the plight and predicament nor suppress people's legitimate concerns," their statement said. "Failure to do so is likely to broaden the unrest and instability to the national level."