Cyber Ethiopia

1,600 detained under state of emergency in Ethiopia

bbc_91550980_mediaitem91550979The Ethiopian authorities have detained 1,600 people as they try to boost security under the state of emergency, a government minister has told the BBC.

A statement, quoted by state-affiliated FBC website, lists arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which have recently seen massive demonstrations.

This is in addition to Monday’s arrests of 1,000 people near the capital.

A six-month state of emergency has been declared in the face of a wave of unprecedented anti-government protests.

Under the emergency measures, people can be detained without an arrest warrant for the duration of the state of emergency.

FBC reports that the arrests took place in at least five places, including in Shashamene, 250km (155 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa, where 450 people had been detained.

It describes all those arrested as “suspects in the recent violence” and adds that a large number of looted weapons had also been handed over.

There is no mention where the people are being held.

Rights groups say that at least 500 people have died during the anti-government protests over the last 11 months as a result of clashes with security forces.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said last week that could be an accurate estimate, but blamed “anti-peace forces” for the trouble.

Activists have targeted commercial property, including some foreign-owned businesses.

These include warehouses and factories in the town of Sebeta, near Addis Ababa, which were set alight during recent protests, the authorities say.

On Monday, the mayor of the town told FBC that 1,000 people had been arrested in connection with those attacks. He later told the AP news agency that some of those had been released.

Map showing the regions of Ethiopia

The recent wave of demonstrations began in Oromia last November with people there protesting against a plan to expand Addis Ababa into their region.

That plan has since been dropped, but the protests have continued.

There have also been demonstrations in the country’s Amhara region.

The state of emergency was declared on 9 October a week after at least 55 people died in a stampede during an Oromo religious festival which turned into a protest.

Activists blamed the security forces for causing the panic, but the government said protesters in the crowd were responsible.

Human rights groups have in the past criticised Ethiopia for suppressing dissent.

In last year’s general election, every seat was won by either a member of the governing EPRDF coalition or one of the party’s allies.

The government has recently proposed reforms to the electoral system so that opposition politicians have a better chance of being elected.

Source: BBC

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The then-TPLF-dominated regime in Ethiopia was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to actively engage in political censorship of the Internet .

Since May 2006, the most popular Ethiopian web sites (including CyberEthiopia) and several blogs have been blocked across the nation. The apparent objective was to prevent the dissemination of information that is critical of the regime.

Following the political protests which have swept the nation since November 2015, the regime has routinely shutdown the Internet and restricted access to Social Media (including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber) and indicated its keenness to control Social Media.

On 22nd June 2018, the new Prime Minister Dr Abye Ahmed's government reported that it had unblocked 264 websites including CyberEthiopia.com after 12 years of blockage as attested by the OONI’s thorough verifications of our website’s unblocking .




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