According to local media reports, more than 1100 individuals have been arrested in Ethiopia since a state of emergency was imposed in mid-February. Charges include setting houses and financial institutions ablaze, illicit movement of firearms, destruction of government and public institutions, and blocking roads. The state of emergency, declared after the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, bans all protests as well as the dissemination of information deemed critical of the state of emergency, and gives authorities the power to make arrests without warrant. The state of emergency is slated to remain in effect for six months; associated unrest and a visibly heightened security presence is expected to continue during that period.
Despite the ban on protests, demonstrations against the ongoing state of emergency have taken place on a regular basis since it was announced on February 16. Outbreaks of violence continue to plague the country, notably in the Oromia region. Most recently, soldiers reportedly killed nine civilians and wounded 12 others after mistaking them for rebels in the Moyale area (Oromia) during protests on March 11. A state of emergency was previously imposed from October 2016 to August 2017, during which time over 20,000 people were reportedly arrested.
Individuals in Ethiopia are advised to avoid any large gatherings or demonstrations due to the risk of violence and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities or their home government.
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