Ethiopia de­clares state of emer­gency over protests

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

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 yes­ter­day.

Lo­cal me­dia said the state of emer­gency, de­clared for the first time in 25 years, will last for six months.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, the state Ethiopian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion re­ported that the state of emer­gency was ef­fec­tive as of Satur­day evening as a means to “deal with an­tipeace el­e­ments that have al­lied with for­eign forces and are jeop­ar­dis­ing the peace and se­cu­rity of the coun­try”.

It added that 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.

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 ri­ot­ing. Many roads lead­ing to the cap­i­tal, Ad­dis Ababa, were re­ported to be blocked.

The anti-gov­ern­ment demon­stra­tions started in Novem­ber among the Oromo, Ethiopia’s big­gest eth­nic group, and later spread to the Amhara, the sec­ond most pop­u­lous group.

Though they ini­tially be­gan over land rights, they later broad­ened into calls for more political, eco­nomic and cul­tural rights.

Both groups say that a multi-eth­nic rul­ing coali­tion and the se­cu­rity forces are dom­i­nated by the Tigray eth­nic group, which makes up only about 6 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

The gov­ern­ment, though, blames rebel groups and for­eign­based dis­si­dents for stok­ing the vi­o­lence. — Al Jazeera.

Don­ald Trump

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