Ethiopia rocked by violent protests by Oromo and Amhara groups.
The Ethiopian government has declared a six-month state of emergency in an attempt to curb violent demonstrations by two of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara, whose members have been protesting sustained marginalisation since late 2015.
Under the government’s severe new regulations people in Ethiopia can be arrested without a warrant and detained for the duration of the state of emergency.
Social media and all means of messaging have been banned in a bid to disrupt the protests which have been coordinated largely via mobile devices. Foreign television networks as well as the Ethiopia Satellite Television and Oromia Media Network have been classified as “terrorist organisations.”
The government has also banned the crossing of wrists above one’s head, as if in handcuffs, in what has become a symbol of solidarity with the Oromo people.
Diplomats are forbidden from travelling within 40 km of Addis Ababa – the seat of the African Union and over 100 diplomatic missions – without seeking prior authorisation.
A 12-hour curfew, from 18.00-06.00, has been introduced in the vicinity of “economic pillars, infrastructural projects and investments”, following a series of attacks on foreign-owned firms.
The government says the clampdown is necessary to avoid further casualties and destruction of property, however the measures have been condemned by human rights organisations, and the United Nations has advised the government to engage in dialogue.