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Ethiopia says 2000 protest detainees released after counseling

Ethiopia says 2000 protest detainees released after counseling


The Ethiopian government says it has released about 2000 detained anti-government protesters suspected of engaging in the recent violence in some parts of the country.

Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa told the media on Sunday that the detainees were released after receiving education and counseling.

The minister who oversees the implementation of the State of Emergency said over 1,500 illegal weapons were retrieved and over 400 people gave up their weapons under the 10-day amnesty programme, state media FBC reported.

Siraj did not disclose the number of detained individuals when questioned.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on October 9 to curb the unrest which turned violent leading to damage of properties including those of local and international businesses.

Before the State of Emergency was imposed, over 50 people died on October 2 in a stampede at a festival in Bishoftu after police fired teargas and warning shots to disperse protesters at the event.

At least 500 people have been killed and thousands arrested in the wave of anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions over the past months.

International bodies including the United Nations and the European Union have called on the Ethiopian government to exercise restraint against protesters.

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