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Ethiopia says state of emergency will last 6 months

Ex-Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn
Ethiopian Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa on Saturday said a state of emergency imposed by Ethiopia after the prime minister resigned will last six months.

“Ethiopia bans protests, publications that incite violence during emergency rule.

“There are still pockets of areas where violence is prevalent. The (ruling EPRDF coalition‘s) council were unanimous in their decision,” Fegessa told newsmen.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his surprise resignation in a televised speech on Thursday, saying he wanted to smooth the way for further reforms.

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

It has also closed down a jail where activists alleged torture took place.

Many of the prisoners took part in anti-government protests in 2015 and 2016 in Amhara and Oromiya, the country’s two most populous provinces.

The demonstrations began against a government plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa but morphed into greater demands for civil rights.

The government previously imposed a state of emergency in October 2016, which was lifted in August 2017.

During that time, curfews were in place, there were restrictions on movement and around 29,000 people were detained.

Ethiopia is East Africa’s biggest and fastest-growing economy and a Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy.

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