Ethiopians strike over state of emergency

Burayu- Businesses closed in Ethiopia’s capital and its largest region on Monday to protest a state of emergency declared after the prime minister’s resignation last month.

Shops were closed and roads deserted in parts of the capital Addis Ababa and in towns in the surrounding Oromia region, a melting pot of anti-government dissent since 2015.

“The strike is a response to our fear” of the state of emergency, a resident of the Oromia town Burayu who requested anonymity told AFP.

Like minded residents, gather as a group said, “If they see us in a group like this, the police will come and shoot us.”

Roads leading out of Addis Ababa were lined up with parked trucks and buses.

The drivers of those trucks feared being assaulted by protesters if they weren’t part of the strike.

“We won’t drive down there because trucks can’t pass, and we could be stoned,” one truck driver said.

Striking and closing or blocking of roads is illegal under a state of emergency, which was declared on February 16.

The declaration come after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise announcement that he would resign after nearly serving six years in office.

Ethiopia has been under emergency rule from October 2016 until August 2017, after months of anti-government protests in Oromia and the neighbouring Amhara region.

Those protests left hundreds dead and resulted in tens of thousands of arrests.

Photo Credit- Encyclopedia Britannica. Sourced by AFP.

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