State of Emergency Extended for Six Months in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York

"To be able to protect the constitutional system, declaring a state of emergency has become necessary", the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said, quoting a government communique.

Ethiopian officials have declared a state of emergency amid widespread anti-government protests that have persisted for more than two years and in which hundreds have been killed and several thousand detained, the majority of whom have since been released.

The resignation of Hailemariam, in power since 2012, comes amid protracted anti-government protests and follows a nationwide state of emergency previous year.

Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia's defense minister, told local media on Saturday that the state of emergency, due effective for six months, will bring together the country's security forces to ensure "the country's law and order is effectively maintained".

The duration of the state of emergency was not specified during the evening state TV broadcast.

The long-running protests have had an adverse effect on routine life and business in Ethiopia, one of Africa's fastest growing economies.

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The prime minister said he was leaving to give the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) space as it pursued political reforms.

The state of emergency, which effectively bans protests, will be presented for lawmakers' approval within 15 days.

The demonstration came to an end only after the government agreed to release the political prisoners.

Rights groups alleged that people were beaten and subjected to arbitrary detentions.

The details of the state of emergency were not revealed, except to say that it would be similar to the last state of emergency, which began in October 2016, and ended only a few months ago in August 2017.

The United States is now warning its embassy personnel to suspend all travel outside of the capital. Ethiopia's state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting corporate reported that the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, discussed current political issues with Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu in NY. "Otherwise, they would not discuss about the state of emergency".

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