Ethiopia extends state of emergency by four months
The Ethiopian government has extended the country’s state of emergency by four months in a move widely anticipated by critics.
The government declared a six-month state of emergency on October 9 last year but moved to extend the period by another four months on Thursday, despite relaxing some provisions of the state of emergency on March 15th.
Government extends state of emergency
The government’s decision comes after reports of ongoing violence and anti-governmental activities in some rural areas of the country.
“We still have some anti-peace elements that are active and want to capitalise on disputes that arise among regional states in the country,” Ethiopia’s defence minister, Siraj Fegessa, said on Thursday.
Things are very different in the capital. Until some restrictions were lifted on March 15, Ethiopia’s state of emergency resulted in thousands of arbitrary arrests – more than 11,000 in the first month alone. Curfews were put in place, social media bans were enforced and restrictions were imposed on radio, televisions and theatre productions.
These restrictions have now been relaxed and police are no longer able to arrest people or search homes without a warrant. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 people are believed to be in government “rehabilitation camps” as the country’s state of emergency continues.
Opposition groups criticise extension
Opposition groups in Ethiopia say the government is using state of emergency powers to clamp down on their activities. The wave of arrests and heavy restrictions that were in place until March 15 have all but put an end to demonstrations in the Addis Ababa but opposition groups claim the government wants to quash dissent in the remote parts Ethiopia with the extended state of emergency.
Some opposition groups members have vowed to stage further protests once the state of emergency in Ethiopia is lifted.
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