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Ethiopia extends state of emergency after relaxing restrictions


Ethiopia has extended the nationwide state of emergency declared last year by another four months on Thursday after lifting some restrictions two weeks ago.

The country’s parliament unanimously voted for the extension after the State of Emergency Secretariat’s request, Ethiopian state media FBC reported.

Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa who heads the Secretariat explained that the existence of people who want to disrupt peace and security as well as the need to end any future insecurity called for the extension, FBC added.

On March 15, Fegessa announced the lifting of some restrictions under the state of emergency including ending powers granted to security services, powers to stop and search suspects and powers to search homes without court authorisation.

There was also a revocation of the dusk-to-dawn curfew on access to economic installations, some infrastructure and factories for unauthorised people.

The parliament advised against human rights violations during the state of emergency.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on October 9 last year to curb violent unrest 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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