Ethiopia declares state of emergency amid protests

Ethiopia declares state of emergency amid protests

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency following months of anti-government protests by members of the country’s two largest ethnic groups.

The Oromo and the Amhara make up about 60% of the population. They complain power is held by a tiny Tigrean elite.

Violence has intensified since last Sunday when at least 55 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters at an Oromo festival.

Hundreds have died in months of protests, human rights groups say.

Tens of thousands have also been detained, they say.

Declaring the state of emergency, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a televised address: “We put our citizens’ safety first. Besides, we want to put an end to the damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, health centres, administration and justice buildings.”

The state of emergency will last for six months.

BBC World Service Africa editor Mary Harper says the violent protests are the most serious threat to Ethiopian stability in a quarter of a century.

Source: BBC