Ethiopian parliament votes to end state of emergency

Ethiopian parliament votes to end state of emergency Photo File

Ethiopian lawmakers voted Tuesday to lift a state of emergency imposed three months ago across the country to curb widespread anti-government protests.

The ending of the emergency rule two months before it was due to expire is the most significant reform so far by the country's young new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has promised change.

The controversial emergency rule, imposed in mid-February after deadly protests, mainly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, led to several hundred arrests.

Ethiopia's parliament vote to lift the emergency rule was by a general show of hands. Eight members abstained from the vote and a few members raised concerns, citing security breaches in some parts of the country.

The anti-government protests have persisted for more than two and a half years and brought the previous prime minister to resign. Hundreds of demonstrators were killed in the protests and several thousand detained, the majority of whom have since been released. The crippling protests were mainly in towns across the restive Oromia region, the largest of Ethiopia's nine provinces.

Since Abiy, 42, became prime minister in April, his government has released several thousand prisoners and tensions in restive areas have dramatically declined. Some of the high-profile releases include an Ethiopia-born Briton, Andargachew Tsige, and a Swedish doctor, Fikru Maru.

The previous administration had imposed an earlier state of emergency in 2016 and 2017 in which more than 22,000 people were arrested before it was lifted nine months later.

Rights groups claimed people were beaten and subjected to arbitrary detentions under the previous emergency rule. The government released most of those arrested after what it described as "training."

Most Ethiopians are positive about the new prime minister's reforms that include inviting foreign-based opposition parties to return home and an effort to create a national consensus. Calls are now being made for controversial anti-terrorism, media and civil society laws to be scrapped, too.

Tagged as:

No tags for this article


3443 Views Comments

Violence Erupts in Kenya Over New Election Law

Kenyan police have fired tear gas at opposition protesters a day after their leader Raila Odinga announced his withdrawal from the presidential race, saying he

3746 Views Comments

Clashes Threaten Ethiopia’s Delicate Ethnic Balance ― AFP

The unrest raises questions about the future of Ethiopia’s “ethnic federalism” system of governance, which is supposed to offer a degree of self-determination to the

3105 Views Comments

Kenya Police Killed 35 in August Poll Violence: Rights Group

Thirty-seven people were killed after Kenya's August elections, and all but two of the cases were caused by "excessive" force by police, a human rights