Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency, Martial law

In a meeting by the Ethiopian Council of Ministers on Friday, the ministers said a martial law would also be enforced effectively from Friday.

The U.S. Embassy to Ethiopia on Saturday released a statement opposing the most recent state of emergency declaration.

Ethiopian Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa ruled out a military takeover Saturday, but said security forces have been told to take "measures" against those disrupting the country's operations.

In an effort to ease tensions, the government this week released more than 700 prisoners arrested during the protests and a previous state of emergency.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn remains in the post for now after making the surprise announcement Thursday that he had submitted a resignation letter to help planned political reforms in one of Africa's best-performing economies succeed.

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Mulatu Gemechu, delegate secretary of the resistance Oromo Federalist Congress, said Ethiopia required a totally new political framework following quite a while of turmoil.

For as long as couple of years, Ethiopia has fumed with social agitation. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands have been imprisoned, including top opposition figures. For his part, Hailemariam attributed his resignation to the wish to facilitate the development of political reforms in the country.

Ethiopia's second largest ethnic group with at least 20 million people, the Amhara claim they are increasingly politically marginalized.

The government has released hundreds of political detainees this year in steps it says are meant to "widen the political sphere".

While for some people, Desalegn's resignation comes as a "transformational moment", many see it as a result of an "unprecedented" wave of protests in Ethiopia.

  • Adam Floyd