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Ethiopia unveils rules for state of emergency

October 16, 2016

A week after imposing a state of emergency, Ethiopia's government has unveiled the rules for it. The opposition says it's meant to curb protests after Ethiopia experienced a year of unrest that led to 500 deaths.

Äthiopien Proteste Gebet
Image: Reuters/T. Negeri

The rules restrict the movement of diplomats 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside of the capital, Addis Ababa, without official permission, and prohibit contact with groups that are labeled as terrorists and watching or listening to the broadcasters "Oromia Media Network" and "Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio", according to a statement issued by Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa, the head of the Command Post - the body established to oversee the state of emergency.

The emergency also outlaws rallies and public meetings without permission and gives security forces the right to detain and search people without a court order.

Those who break the terms of the state of emergency risk jail terms of three to five years.

The government has also enforced an internet blackout. The government has sought to undercut the opposition's use of social media, DW's correspondent says.

Infografik / Karte Protests and violence in Ethiopia,  2016

Seeds of opposition

Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, began protesting a year ago, when the government proposed annexing some of their land to Addis Ababa as part of a drive to transform this largely agricultural nation into a regional manufacturing power.

Hundreds have been killed in anti-government protests in the past year, according to human rights groups and opposition activists.

The protesters have been demanding wider freedoms in one of Africa's best-performing economies.

On October 2, more than 50 people were killed in a stampede after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters during a religious festival in Bishoftu, southeast of the capital.

On Sunday, Yilikal Getnet, the chairman of the opposition Blue Party, said Ethiopia did not need a state of emergency.

jbh/mkg (AP, DW)