An investigation has launched following a statue of a former Ethiopian leader being destroyed in Cannizaro Park.

Police were called to reports of the statue of Haile Selassie damaged at around 5.10 pm on June 30.

The damage is believed to be linked to the death of Ethiopian singer, Hachalu Hundessa, 34, who was shot dead last week.

The announcement led to waves of protests in Ethiopia, which saw a statue of Ethiopia's last emperor, destroyed in the city of Harar.

 

Hachalu Hundessa was known for his political songs that supported the rights of Ethiopia's ethnic Oromo group.

His voice was used in anti-government protests that later led to a change in leadership in 2018.

People from the Oromo group say they were oppressed under Haile Selassie's reign.

On the day of the damage in Cannizaro Park (June 30), a park visitor found a piece of paper which read 'Oromo lives is matter'.

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The eyewitness said: "On Tuesday the statue of Haile Selassie in Cannizaro Park was no more.

"The only explanation of its sudden toppling was a piece of paper sitting on top of a nearby litter bin.

"The park was mostly empty apart from locals walking their dogs and strollers like ourselves who formed small groups trying to make sense of what had happened.

"My husband and I had waited at the entrance to the park to let a group of around 50 young people file out.

"They appeared good-humoured and non-threatening carrying no banners or slogans.

"They allegedly had carried out this act of destruction.

"The act was evidently in protest against the murder of a singer, Hachalu Hundessa, an icon in their country."

Police continue to investigate, enquiries are ongoing.