Ethiopia declares state of emergencyby AFP Jun 7th 2020 · 1 min read
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Sunday following months of violent anti-government protests, according to an official statement.
"The state of emergency was declared following a thorough discussion by the Council of Ministers on the loss of lives and property damages occurring in the country," Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said.
Ethiopia, for past five years, has been hit by protests. In the most recent unrest in Oromia, at least 55 people died when security forces intervened during the annual Ireecha fete — a seasonal festival.
Oromo protests have continued long after plans to expand capital Addis Ababa’s boundaries were abandoned early in the year.
In particular, Amhara and Oromo opposition has coalesced, both adopting the latest symbol — arms raised and wrists crossed as if handcuffed.
The picture of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa making this gesture while crossing the finish line at Rio 2016 went viral, and photos from Ireecha celebrations in Bishoftu show the crowd standing with arms crossed above their heads before police intervention triggered the deadly panic.
The ruling Ethiopia People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front has achievements to show for its 25 years in power in terms of economic development and improved health and education.
What it has not done is manage the transition from being a centralised, secretive revolutionary movement to running a more open government.
In theory, Ethiopia has embraced democracy but hurdles are put in the way of potential rival parties that currently, there are no opposition MPs.
EPRDF has in theory devolved a good deal of power, but regional leaders are changed by the government time and again.