Ethiopia foreign minister defends state of emergency, more prisoners released

ADDIS ABABA- The foreign affairs ministry of Ethiopia has defended the recently declared state of emergency to diplomats in the capital Addis Ababa, even as many Ethiopians continued to organise defiance strikes.
Dr Workneh Gebeyehu told diplomats the move was necessary to restore calm in the country following months of violent protests which, he said, had threatened the country’s stability and economy.
On Friday, the Counckil of Ministers declared a state of emergency that bans demonstrations and publications that incite violence, following the surprise resignation of the prime minister, Hailemarian Desalegn.
A few allies of the country which include the European Union and the United States have criticised the state of emergency, saying that it risks sabotaging the recent progress made by the country through reforms like the release of political prisoners.
Harriett Baldwin, the United Kingdom Minister for Africa, released a statement saying the state of emergency ‘sends a discouraging signal to the international community and foreign investors’.
In the statement, she urged the government to ensure that the state of emergency lasts a short time and that human right and the constitution are respected during its implementation.
Local reports claim that people in the Southern regions are also observing the strike.  The boycotts that have taken place are similar to the one observed last week in Ethiopia’s largest region of Oromia.
Photo Credit- lorlornyofm

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