Ethiopia experienced civil unrest while we were there and the tour organizer had to adjust our program a few times. First the program to the north had to be changed, we concentrated our visit to a smaller part of the country, and that worked out just fine. Going south from Addis Abeba we came closer to the trouble. The first day we drove past some burnt-out trucks, but made it to our destination.
The next day the road was closed so we had to turn around a couple of times. We had rocks thrown at our cars and one of the windows was shattered spraying glass on two of us. Another rock was thrown at the car where I was sitting but hit the door 50 cm from the window where I was sitting.
So the schedule was changed and we stayed at a very nice hotel, and the organizer chartered an airplane to take us past the unsecure area.
It actually had “United Nations” painted under the wings.
On our way back to Addis Abeba we also flew, this time with a regular air carrier.
I have seen four theories on what the unrest was about. The first is the anti-capitalistic explaination that it was a protest against foreign investors that grew crops that depleted the soil, like strawberries and roses.
The second was an Ethiopian version that Egypt was behind it. Ethiopia plans to build a hydro-electric power station on the Blue Nile and Egypt is against that project as it says it might influence that country.
The third was that it was a political protest against the government that is mainly from the northern provinces, that the central part of the country with its tribes had too little political influence.
The fourth was that the protesters were unemployed and frustrated youths and men.
I have no idea what is correct, it could also be a combination. It gave us some extra excitements, but we did not feel unsafe except for the few seconds of rock throwing. Afterwards it is a new experience.