U.S. calls for release of political activists under detention

The State Department reaffirmed on Friday its call on Ethiopian authorities to release all political activists who were arrested in recent days during anti-government demonstrations.

Spokesman Sean McCormack also said that if are accused of acts of violence in the demonstrations, they should be granted the full rights under the judicial system, including a speedy hearing.

The State Department's third ranking official, Nicholas Burns, relayed U.S. concerns about the situation during a conversation with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Burns reiterated the U.S. call for creation of an independent commission to investigate the demonstrations, including those on June 8th in which dozens of people were killed, McCormack said.

He described as disturbing reports there were violent clashes between protesters and police, and that police responded with use of live rounds.

Discussing the situation along the border with Eritrea, McCormack said U.S. and U.N. officials are discussing ways to ease rising tensions.

He said Ethiopia has redeployed some troops along the border. It is not clear whether Eritrea has done the same, he said, AP reported. V.A.

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