Ethiopians celebrate progress in building dam on Nile River

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (AP) — Ethiopians are celebrating progress in the construction of the country’s dam on the Nile River, which has caused regional controversy over its filling.

In joyful demonstrations urged by posts on social media and apparently endorsed by the government, tens of thousands of residents flooded the streets of the capital Addis Ababa last Sunday, waving Ethiopia’s flag and holding up posters.

People in cars honked their horns, others whistled, played loud music, and danced in public spaces to mark the occasion.

Similar events were held in other cities in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, called on the public to rally behind the dam and support the completion of its construction.

“Today is a date in which we celebrate the beginning of the final chapter in our dam’s construction,” Demeke told scores of people who gathered at a hall in the capital. “We want the construction to complete soon and began solving our problems once and for all.”

Hashtags like #ItsMyDam, #EthiopiaNileRights and #GERD are also trending among Ethiopian social media users. Ethiopians around the world contributed to the festivities on social media.

Ethiopians celebrate the progress made on the Nile dam, in Addis Ababa. PHOTO: AP