Ethiopia declares state of emergency amid unrest

Ethiopia has also been reeling from deadly protests since 2016, especially in the two most populous regional states of Amhara and Oromia, over alleged political and economic marginalization.

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam DeSalegn, a state of emergency with immediate effect has been announced by the Ethiopian government, public television reported. Ethiopia's state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting corporate reported that the USA ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, discussed current political issues with Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu in NY.

Moments after throwing in the towel, Hailemariam, who has sat at the helm of the Ethiopian government since 2012, cited ongoing "unrest and a political crisis" in the country as major factors in his resignation, which he described as "vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy".

"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.

Defense Minister Siraj Fegesa is also from the SNNP.

"I myself want to become part of the solution", he said in announcing his resignation on Thursday.

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.

The US embassy in Ethiopia on Saturday urged Addis Ababa to reconsider its decision to institute martial law.

The strike was called off after detained Oromo politicians were freed along with hundreds of other prisoners, including journalist Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage.

As chairman of EPRDF, Desalegn won praises for his technocratic expertise, though he has struggled to rise politically above the shadow of Meles, who ruled the east African country for 21 years.


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