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Hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia welcome once-banned group

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are gathering to welcome returning leaders of the once-banned Oromo Liberation Front amid sweeping reforms to bring opposition groups back to politics.

The OLF and two other organizations were removed from a list of terror groups earlier this year after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office. He invited them to come home.

Some 1,500 OLF fighters returned to Ethiopia from neighboring Eritrea earlier Saturday.

A large concert is being held in Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, to welcome OLF leader Dawud Ibsa and others. Events also are being held in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region.

After clashes in recent days over displays of the OLF flag in the capital, Abiy condemned any incitement of violence. Police used tear gas to separate the two sides.