Ethiopia: State of Emergency Declared for Six Months

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On social media, there were multiple reactions. Most thought it was a silent coup since the Prime Minister has resigned yesterday and the SoE had no time limit.

The coup discourse is dominating the discussion. Reuters’ correspondent in Ethiopia tweeted that journalists were told by the ministers that there was no declaration and the meeting was not concluded.

However, government TV were allowed to briefly record the meeting. Later, an unknown side, possibly the TPLF security branch, announced that the State of Emergency was declared making some people suspect that it was in fact a “coup.”

Some pro-government voices justified and supported the declaration.

Update from the CEO and Journalist of ESAT Televison, Abebe Gellaw.

During an offical presser on February 17, 2018, the Minister of Defense, Siraj Fergesa, said the SoE was agreed by all members of the Ministerial Council.

Siraj also dismissed the suggestion from some quarters for the formation of a transitional team or government to solve the national crises. This is going to be one of the biggest mistakes and lost opportunities of the government to be a beacon of hope, reconciliation and write history by averting civil war in the country and the Horn. Because, the security solution will result in a security orientated and violent response from the protesters. It would not be surprising if in the next months, the current non-violent resistances in Ethiopia change their colors and become more violent or extremism and extremists breed.

 

The Minister said any form of protest and group activity is banned. This means that the right to freedom of assembly, expression and protest are illegal in the next six months.

Siraj today also dismissed reports that it was the military taking over rather than the government announcing the SOE as false.

He said the Prime Minister leads the Command Post, which has seven members and is led by the Prime Minister. It is however, questionable that the Prime Minister, who resigned last week, was  not giving the press conference.