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Ethiopia declares state of emergency over protests

October 9, 2016

Ethiopia_protesters_burnt busesAljazeera – Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency following months of often violent anti-government protests, especially in the restive Oromia region.

“A state of emergency has been declared because the situation posed a threat against the people of the country,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on state-run television on Sunday.

Local media said the state of emergency, declared for the first time in 25 years, will last for six months.
Earlier on Sunday, the state Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the state of emergency was effective as of Saturday evening as a means to “deal with anti-peace elements that have allied with foreign forces and are jeopardising the peace and security of the country”.

It added that the Council of Ministers discussed the damage by the protests across the country and declared the state of emergency in a message delivered to Hailemariam.

Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from Mombasa, said that people were concerned about “the powers this state of emergency allows the prime minister to have”.

“The security forces for example will now fall under the prime minister’s control specifically. And if we look back over the last year, things like the internet have been blocked to prevent people communicating and allowing these protests to continue,” she said.

Protests reignited this week in the Oromia region – the main focus of a recent wave of demonstrations – after dozens of people were killed in a stampede on October 2, which was sparked by police firing tear gas and warning shots at a huge crowd of protesters attending a religious festival.

The official death toll given by the government was 55, though opposition activists and rights groups said they believe more than 100 people died as they fled security forces, falling into ditches that dotted the area.

According to government officials, factories, company premises and vehicles were burnt out completely or damaged during the recent wave of protests. Many roads leading to the capital, Addis Ababa, were reported to be blocked.

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3 comments on “Ethiopia declares state of emergency over protests

  1. It wasn’t necessary unless the army want to take over the decission from Hailemariam. I do not think the Marshal Law makes any difference. The people have no right to protest, gather, right to life or not to be arrested more than 24hrs without a court order. The last public march was many years ago. All were in the constitution but not respected. The army has been already in most regions without the Marshal Law. The paradox is the people have been asking for their constitutional rights to be respected. The government promised to listen and reform and now it is suspending the constitution all together. So, not a lot to worry about. The big danger is it will scare away all foreign residents and embassies. Now it will give them a reason to scale down their embassies, send alert to citizens to travel to Ethiopia, discourage investment and help citizens to evacuate. The state of emergency means that the government in no more in control of the country and cannot enforce law and orders. That means send a strong signal to the embassies to evacuate and scale down operations. So it is bad for

  2. If this is what a state of emerged means, then I just realized that Ethiopia has been ruled under a state of emergency for the last 25 years.
    Can someone explain to me which measure of the state of emergency woyane declared yesterday that we have not seen implemented in the last 25 years?
    Egziabher woyanen yatfalen!

  3. I do not think the state of emergency will change any thing at all. In fact it shows that TPLF is unable to govern.
    That means we need to intensufy the struggle in order to bring down TPLF.
    Most importantly it is bad publicity for the TPLF. The people and the opposition lose nothing!!

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