ESAT News (October 9, 2016)
The TPLF-led government, shaken by widespread protests, declared Sunday a six-month long state of emergency.
The titular Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a televised address to the nation that the state of emergence was needed to repulse what he called “the danger posed by anti-peace elements and foreign enemies on the peace, security and stability of the nation.”
The state of emergency was declared by the minorty regime after months of anti-government protests, especially in the Oromo and Amhara regions of the country where security forces killed hundreds of peaceful protesters and tens of thousands detained.
Protests were reignited this week after the death of hundreds of festival goers the Oromos celebrated Ireecha, an annual thanksgiving and a festival to welcome spring. Security forces were accused of causing the mayhem by shooting into the massive crowd and throwing gas canisters.
The actions taken by security forces triggered a stampede which reportedly caused the death of nearly 700 people. Witnesses and video evidences also show security forces shooting at party goers who also used the occasion to express their grievances against the regime.
The Prime Minister said the state of emergency “would not infringe human rights enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution and diplomatic rights listed in the Vienna Convention.” But the minority regime has been widely accused of committing gross human rights violations since it came to power in 1991.
The Prime Minister blamed the unrest on “foreign forces” and “anti-peace elements.” The TPLF government has been routinely blaming neighboring Egypt and Eritrea for all the crises in the country. Official statements from the government have been accusing the two countries of supporting the protest movement and opposition forces, but with no tangible evidence.
Reports say the Ethiopian government has summoned Egyptian ambassador to Addis Ababa, Aboubakr Hefny, for discussions. Associated Press reported that officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have talked to the Egyptian diplomat.
The state-controlled media has recently been televising a video purportedly showing Oromo opposition groups in Cairo holding a meeting with Egyptian officials. To the dismay of the regime, that video had surfaced on the Ethiopian social media two years ago.
The state television, EBC, used footages of that video to accuse Egypt of buttressing the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which is outlawed by the TPLF government as a terrorist group.