Two people were killed in Addis Ababa on Friday during a demonstration against the destruction of mosques as part of a massive project around the Ethiopian capital, a media network close to the government quoted police as saying.

Clashes erupted in the vicinity of the Anwar mosque north of the Ethiopian capital, after Muslims took to the streets after Friday prayers.

The website of the "Vanabisi" network wrote that "two people injured in unrest in an area known as Gus Terra, died after being taken to hospital for treatment."

The network, citing police, said four protesters and 4 policemen were injured in the clashes.

A witness at the Anwar mosque, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that worshippers had chanted slogans hostile to the project of a large center called Sheger City and the government.

"After Friday prayers, people started shouting slogans to stop the destruction of our mosques," he said, adding that "large security forces arrived and when they reached the doors of the mosque, people became angry and threw stones and shoes at them."

Police officers "then fired tear gas and bullets in the air", he said.

Unconstitutional response

The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Addis Ababa called for prosecutions after it called an "unconstitutional and inhumane response" by security forces against Muslims "peacefully defending their rights".

Federal authorities and the Oromia region last year launched a controversial project called Sheger City, which would merge six towns surrounding the capital into a vast western arc.

For months, authorities have been destroying a number of buildings, homes and mosques they deem illegally built.

Opponents of the draft condemn these processes, which they consider discriminatory and based on ethnic and religious criteria.

Ethiopia is predominantly Christian, especially Orthodox, but Muslims make up a majority in about a third of the country.