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Ethiopia declares state of emergency to stop protests

10 October 2016, 04:58

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency effective immediately following a week of anti-government violence that resulted in deaths and property damage across the country, especially in the restive Oromia region.

"The Council of Ministers has declared a state of emergency that will be effective as of 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," the state Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation announced Sunday morning.

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 Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Major towns and cities across the Oromia region are experiencing unrest and widespread violent protests after dozens were killed on October 2 in a stampede triggered when police fired teargas and bullets to disperse protestors at the annual Irrecha thanksgiving celebration in Bishoftu town.

The internet is blocked across many parts of Ethiopia, residents reported Sunday. The government has blocked the internet for more than a week to prevent protesters from using social media to get supporters to attend demonstrations.

Anti-government protests continued Sunday. Many roads into and out of the capital, Addis Ababa, are blocked by protesters and those who try to drive through are targeted by people who jump out from behind bushes and hurl rocks, witnesses told the Associated Press by phone on Sunday.

The state broadcaster said details of the state of emergency will be communicated to the public later Sunday.

"The state of emergency will not breach basic human rights enshrined under the Ethiopian constitution and won't also affect diplomatic rights listed under the Vienna Convention," Prime Minister Desalegn said according to the state broadcaster.

The state of emergency will be in place for six months, according to (Cabinet position and name of minister quoted by newspaper) quoted by Fortune, a local newspaper. The emergency could be shorter if the security situation improves, the minister said according to Fortune.

In a separate development, Ethiopian officials summoned Egypt's ambassador to the country, Aboubakr Hefny, for discussions. The State Minister for Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs Ministry talked to the Egyptian diplomat after a video appeared online which purportedly shows members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front sharing a stage with what Ethiopia's state broadcaster described as Egyptians.

- AP


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