ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Tuesday that police had not used violent tactics against protesters and the government would investigate such incidents, speaking during a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ethiopia has been hit by a wave of protests over land and political rights for more than a year, in which rights groups and the opposition say police have used excessive force. The government denies this and say the death toll is exaggerated.

Merkel told the prime minister that protests should be allowed and any police response should be proportionate.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Edmund Blair)