Uncertain future ahead for Ethiopia as PM resigns

Ethiopia says state of emergency after PM resigned will last six months

State of emergency in Ethiopia as country's prime minister resigns

A state of emergency imposed in Ethiopia on Friday after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (above photo) resigned includes a ban on protests and publications inciting violence, Ethiopian Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa said on Saturday.

"We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government's decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression, " the statement said.

A communique read out on national television justified the move by alluding to "ethnic-based clashes" and "chaos and unruliness".

"Because of the dangers the constitution and the constitutional system is facing, we have reached the point where it is hard to keep the law in the usual way", it added.

The most recent state of emergency in Ethiopia is the second the country's government has put in place since 2016, following protests that killed dozens of demonstrators. The appointment was not known.

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However, in 2015, months of anti-government demonstrations spread across Ethiopia, leaving hundreds dead and prompting parliament to declare a 10-month state nationwide state of emergency in October 2016.

Nonetheless, Oromo activists called a strike earlier this week that saw businesses shutter and young men armed with rocks and sticks block roads in Oromia to push the government to keep its prisoner amnesty promise.

Mulatu Gemechu, spokesman of opposition Medrek party, said: "The resignation of the prime minister is an outcome of the popular peaceful struggle in the last three years". Under intense pressure from the Oromo and Amhara parties in the EPRDF coalition, Desalegn announced reforms last month, promising that all political prisoners would be freed and that a jail in the capital, Addis Ababa, known for torture of dissidents would be closed.

The next day, Hailemariam announced his resignation. It remains unclear who will then take over. He remains in office until parliament and the EPRDF coalition accept his resignation.

The council added it would release more details Saturday.

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