They arrived with guns, Ethiopia's prime minister ordered them to do push-ups


Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday did press-ups with protesting soldiers who had walked to his office demanding better pay.

Abiy "listened to the grievances carefully, reprimanded them for the wrong procedure they followed to express those grievances, but concluded the meeting with a promise to meet properly in the near future to positively consider their demands", his chief of staff Fitsum Arega wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday.

In addition to asking for pay rises, the soldiers also requested that Abiy "review the structure and operations of the military".

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that government was going to function with only twenty ministries, down from the previous twenty-eight.

"They said they bled and died for their country but that they were seen as enemy soldiers. Unless the public supported them, they said they would continue to struggle".

The station did not broadcast images of the soldiers marching.

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A BBC journalist in the capital Addis Ababa reports that the despite its vague details an official document said the ministry will deal with matters relating to bringing peace and security to the county and also that it will strive for the rule of law.

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

Photos circulating on social media showed Mr Abiy doing push-ups with the smiling troops.

Abiy, 42, took office in April after several years of unrest forced his predecessor to resign.

These changes are a shock to the system in Ethiopia, a country of more than 100 million people led with an iron fist since the EPRDF coalition that Abiy belongs to seized power in 1991.