Ethiopia extends state of emergency by four months

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The Ethiopian parliament on Thursday voted unanimously to extend a state of emergency imposed in October by another four months after Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa told it some “anti-peace forces” were still at large.

The state of emergency was declared following months of deadly protests that killed around 500 people.

Fegessa said the state of emergency had generally brought back some stability although some areas were still “less calm.”

“Those responsible for committing such acts should all be apprehended before the state of emergency is lifted,” said Siraj, who chairs a command post to oversee implementation of the decree.

The state of emergency was imposed after protests mostly in the Oromiya region around the capital Addis Ababa. Anger over a development scheme for the city had turned into broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

The government has since lifted some restrictions, ending stop-and-search powers for security services and dawn-to-dusk curfews on access for unauthorized people to certain economic installations, infrastructure facilities and factories.

A rule barring diplomats from travelling beyond a 40 kilometer (25 miles) radius of the capital without permission was also lifted.

Other restrictions still remain however. Contacts with opposition groups branded as “terrorist movements” are still forbidden. Ethiopia has designated five groups, including two armed secessionist groups, as terrorist organizations.

Another directive barring the “preparation, distribution and exhibition of material that could incite chaos” remains intact.

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