Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency, Martial law

Casey Dawson
February 18, 2018

The ruling EPRDF coalition's council met on Friday and made a decision to impose emergency rule, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said. Authorities say the measure is necessary to "protect the constitutional system".

Details of parts of the civilian constitution to be suspended will be announced at the end of the ministerial council's meeting, but it is likely to be not much different than the October 2016 nine month state of emergency, which was extended by additional four months.

The state of emergency, the embassy said, "undermines recent positive steps toward creating a more inclusive political space" and sends a message to the Ethiopian people that "they are not being heard". "The (ruling EPRDF coalition's) council were unanimous in their decision", Fegessa told newsmen.

Hailemariam Desalegn's unexpected resignation followed unrest in the Horn of Africa country initially sparked by opposition in the central Oromiya region to an urban development plan that ethnic Oromos said would encroach on their land.

"The government has previously made several efforts to curtail violence, but lives have continued to be lost, many have been displaced and economic infrastructure has been damaged", he said.

It is the second time since 2016 that the country has issued such an emergency decree.

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The United States, a major aid donor, said it "strongly disagreed" with the decision to call for emergency rule.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who has been at the seat since 2012, resigned as Prime Minister and head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition.

His resignation must be confirmed by parliament.

A day before his resignation, he presided over a massive prisoner amnesty that saw detained politicians from the Oromo ethnic group freed along with hundreds of other prisoners.

The government denies the charges.

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