Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Ethiopia declares state of emergency to stop protests

Oromia has experienced protests since November 2015 as people have called for wider political freedoms Oromia has experienced protests since November 2015 as people have called for wider political freedoms
Howard Terry | 10 October, 2016, 01:30

Ethiopia is facing its biggest anti-government unrest in a decade, from the majority Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups which feel marginalised by a minority-led government. They complain power is held by a tiny Tigrean elite.

The Oromia region lies south of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and is the center of the Oromia protests past year which Human Rights Watch reported that over 400 protesters were killed.

"The Council of Minster's has declared a state of emergency that will be effective as Saturday evening so as to deal with anti-peace elements that have allied with foreign forces and are jeopardizing the peace and security of the country", Fana Broadcasting reported. "We want to put an end to the damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, administration and justice buildings".

The state of emergency will be in place for six months, but could be shortened if the security situation improves, according to the local Fortune newspaper.

Tens of thousands have also been detained, they say. Many people initially ran to a nearby treeline for cover, only to become trapped in a deep and steep-sided trench.

Today's declaration, she adds, comes amid a clear threat to foreign-owned investments in Ethiopia, as cement, cut flower, textile and fruit juice facilities are among businesses that have come under attack. The country's security forces will also now be under the prime minister's control.

The ongoing intensive protests particularly in Oromia regional state, following mass death of civilians at the annualIrreecha festival last Sunday Oct. 2nd.

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.

Over the last several weeks, clashes between police and anti-government protestors have grown increasingly violent, with looting becoming especially prevalent in Oromia Regional State and more recently in the neighboring Southern Regional State.

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