State of emergency declared in Ethiopia


A state of emergency has been imposed in Ethiopia a day after the country's prime minister resigned.

Since January, Ethiopia has released more than 6,000 prisoners who had been charged with taking part in mass protests and, in some cases, offences against the state.

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency following unrest in the restive Oromia and Amhara regional states, according to a state television broadcast.

The announcement came after the Ethiopian Government recently released hundreds of political prisoners, including some prominent opposition members.

Twenty four-hours after the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister, Hailemariam, wild protests by Ethiopia's Oromo and Amhara people - who make up about 61 percent of the country's population have forced authorities in the country to declare a state of emergency.

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The ruling EPRDF coalition's council met on Friday and chose to impose emergency rule for an unspecified period, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said.

The previously imposed state of emergency, during its initial days, had imposed restrictions including curfew, social media blocks, and a ban on diplomats traveling more than 40 km outside the capital Addis Ababa without approval. Security forces have been instructed to take "measures" against those disturbing the country's functioning, with a new special court established to try them.

Numerous prisoners took part in anti-government protests in 2015 and 2016 in the country's two most populous provinces, whose ethnic Oromo and Amharic communities complained that they are under-represented in the country's corridors of power.

Rights groups alleged that people were beaten and subjected to arbitrary detentions.

On Thursday, Mr Hailemariam said he had made his decision to stand down in the hope that it would help end the years of unrest and political upheaval.