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Ethiopia declares state of emergency amid protests

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency following months of anti-government protests by members of the country's two largest ethnic groups. The Oromo and the Amhara make up about 60% of the population. They complain power

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency following months of anti-government protests by members of the country’s two largest ethnic groups.

The Oromo and the Amhara make up about 60% of the population. They complain power is held by a tiny Tigrean elite.

Violence has intensified since last Sunday when at least 55 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters at an Oromo festival.

Hundreds have died in months of protests, human rights groups say.

Tens of thousands have also been detained, they say.

Declaring the state of emergency, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a televised address: “We put our citizens’ safety first. Besides, we want to put an end to the damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, health centres, administration and justice buildings.”

The state of emergency will last for six months.

BBC World Service Africa editor Mary Harper says the violent protests are the most serious threat to Ethiopian stability in a quarter of a century.

Ethiopia’s ethnic make-up

  • Oromo – 34.4%
  • Amhara – 27%
  • Somali – 6.2%
  • Tigre – 6.1%
  • Sidama – 4%
  • Gurage – 2.5%
  • Others – 19.8%

Source: CIA World Factbook estimates from 2007

The protesters have been attacking foreign companies, she says, threatening Ethiopia’s reputation as a growing economy, ripe for international investment.

The details of the state of emergency remain unclear, but she adds that protesters have already shown they will not back down when faced with force.

Many roads into and out of the capital, Addis Ababa, are blocked by protesters.

The protests are for manifold reason, and include:

  • Muslims unhappy at the imposition of government-approved leaders
  • Farmers displaced to make way for commercial agriculture
  • Amharic communities opposed to their inclusion in Tigre rather than the Amhara region
  • Discontent among groups in various parts of the vast Oromia region

In the most recent unrest in Oromia, at least 55 people were killed in a stampede triggered by clashes between police and demonstrators at the annual Ireecha celebrations – a traditional Oromo seasonal festival.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters angered at their handling of the event, witnesses told the BBC.

Protesters say violence by the security forces led to the stampede, but the PM denied security forces had opened fire.

Correspondents say that while the ruling coalition has some solid achievements to show for its 25 years in power, it has been unable to manage the transition from being a secretive revolutionary movement to running an open, democratic government.

Amharic domination, under Ethiopia’s former military government and emperors, was replaced by Tigrean leadership following the overthrow of long-serving ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.

Source: BBC

Review overview
  • PH October 9, 2016

    Declaration state of emergency is very serious that mean the situation is out of control. If continue , marshal low will follow to shoot, kill, that may lead war of nonsense.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! October 9, 2016

    Reminder of Menghistu military rule state emergency RED TERROR incidents . Ethiopian ruling party
    lost control of its people to come into Marshal Law idea . For 25 years they despised the majority
    same way Issayas did to our people and both of them built strong cult members .
    Both born in 1991 , places Asmara , Addis Abeba . Same feature same characteristics .
    Ethiopians must learn from the dangers of ethnic violence , it is cancerous social ills they should avoid
    for common good . We don’t want to see another Ruanda or Yugoslavia massacres .

    • Eritreawit October 9, 2016


      You said it right, these two trouble makers , HGDF & WEYANE cause a lot of damage to the Eritrean people and Ethiopians , The stinking Weyane did even worse not helping the Eritrean opposition there , instead they have been encouraging to divide Eritrea “low land highland “, wrong , If they have helped us way before to get rid of the dictator the situation would have been different now. God help the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia.

    • Michael Tesfamariam October 10, 2016

      You can’t just draw vague analogy between HDGEF & Woyane, when the later is far more superior in almost every bit issues, from economics to leadership than the other.
      It is true, Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups may make up the largest part of Ethiopian population, but this doesn’t mean that people from minority would not be able to lead the majority just because they are small in number irrespective to their quality.

      After all, any ethnic group in Ethiopia has the right to switch a party as they like, they can even form coalition if they want to. That is why, EPRDF, then TPLF was able to woo a significant number of people from other ethnic group through out 1990s and early 2000, when it won a relatively transparent and fair election in Ethiopia.
      It is just illogical to attempt to parallel the very notion of “Mengstu red terror’ with the current state of emergency declared by the gov to restore law and order in the country reflects nothing but your white-belt and skin-deep knowledge about history. The fact you may not like to hear is that this violence, that was intended to ruin the country to point where it was 25 years ago, has been instigated and organized by a bunch of racist factions, whose ultimate objective is just to get rid of Woyane and grab pwer at any cost. They don’t have a cogent or sensible political argument the wider population is interested about. It is not going to be too long until you will see Eritrea is dragged again into another destructive war with Amhara led Ethiopia. There are extremists elements from Amhara and Oromo who are directly financed by countries like Saudi, Qatar through HGDEF to destabilize Ethiopia and the region to fulfill their Islamazation project.

  • demer October 9, 2016

    The end the means!!Deceiving the world community by denouncing the name of ERITREA(HGDEF) backed by the giant world powers results in to irreversible equation.Respecting international rule and creating healthy and independent relationship with neibours is the fact without any alternative.cause who is going to save the immeasurable destructions already occurred and for coming inevitable and countless folds damages.US,EU…..Never.
    Take care
    There is no need permanent friend for the giant world powers.The supply of infusion stops if you send of breathing falls in to ????s.
    Permanent friendship to the neibours is not a choice but a must.
    Cause this is God created is not man made relationship.
    Sorry my English couldn’t be easy to understand.But,try to understand to what I mean not wat I said/wrote.

  • Alem October 9, 2016

    When one group try to control the entire people inorder to stay in power for ever, it becomes an impossible task. Hope primitive higdef learn from this. Weyane did all it could to divide and weaken eritrean opposition as a long term goal to have a weaker eritrea as neighbour. Tyrant in Asmara capitalized on these two.

  • Grar October 9, 2016

    All Ethiopians need to work hard to avoid being a “failed state” like the savagery and barbarianism we see day in and day in Arab and Muslim nations, such as Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria …
    The Arab vultures such as Egypt and the al Saud JIhadi barbarians are waiting for Ethiopian and Eritrean people to fail and kill each other, therefore, the Tigraians have double responsibilities to avoid blood shed and state collapse by admitting their failure and agreeing to create and hand power to a transitional government in Ethiopia that will govern Ethiopia in the next three years just to put foundations of democratic institutions.

    • Alem October 9, 2016

      We need also to admit that despite the imperfect democracy in Ethiopia, the amharas and promos have a big problem themselves. Amharas believe that they are god chosen to rule Ethiopia while the oromos desire is independence. If the Tigray Amhara and oromos fail to admit their problems and try to solve it, they will fall pray to Egypt. Eritreas problem is the Tigrigna speaking esepa (aka higdef)

      • AHMED SALEH !!! October 10, 2016

        It will not resonate to accuse Eritrea , Egypt or Arabs to something Ethiopian government find themselves in cross lines for the end of beginning from their
        actions that entirely shaped the livelihoods of people’s lives .
        The scary part you should worry most is not political issues but rather problematic
        development fueled on ethnicity based tensions . At the end of the day the safety of ordinary civilians from Tigrai inside Ethiopia needs to take consideration . The few elite group who hold power can not exploit TERRORISM to please westerners as an excuse while barrel of gun answered their wish for full control .
        Oromo and Amhara people demand for power sharing is legitimate request which
        Weyane dominated ruling party refused to comply and it is for the interest of all
        Ethiopians to look for alternatives resolving their issues ,
        Please spare us from Weyane arrogance to mix Eritrea for failure brought to themselves . HGDF and WEYANE can not take responsibility except to put finger
        of blame at each other for the last 20 years and people lost trust on both of them except for sure their blind supporters in denial . . .

    • Shaebia October 10, 2016

      Keep Eritrea out of This we are at peace just worry about your pro Ethiopia

    • AHMED SALEH !!! October 10, 2016

      Grar , are you seriously concerned to speak about Eritrean-Ethiopian people ?
      Didn’t we lost thousands of innocent lives in the killing field at border war ?
      For how long you are going to fool yourself by putting the blame to outsiders for your
      unnecessary bloodshed ?
      If Ghedli Eritrea was Muslm Arab initiated movement and Ethiopian people uprising
      is initiated by Egypt , that means your state affairs had been under influence of Arab
      countries politics . No wonder the word slaves ABEED mentioned frequently to degrade
      Eritreans . .
      The warmongers we observed speak local language , too late no need to hide them .

    • Wedi Hagher October 10, 2016


      You have been laughing at Eritreans, now your Ethiopian brothers are killing each other…
      It’s not that I am happy but this is a reminder for people like you who insult Eritreans day and night while your home is burning.

  • k.tewolde October 10, 2016

    Power ,greed,insatiable quest for dominance are inherent traits of human beings and the homo sapience will do anything imaginable to satisfy that hunger since the ancient times and failed miserably time and time again.’I gave you abundantly to share with your fellow brother,live and multiply and fill the earth and enjoy its fruits I bestowed unto you.’ The Lord.Every time we departed from those words,we paid and we keep on paying dearly,because we all keep going to that hole empty handed.

  • weddi Ekele Guzai October 10, 2016

    Grar looks like someone hire you for your haters and racism comment so what is a reason and reasonable for civil war and between countries wars your Ethiopian Tegaro fought for defending for their right for more than two decades but unfortunately they did not respect others rights so those other than Tegrai group has have right to do the same the Tegaro did .the Arab and Muslim you have mentioned are human beings like European who killed each other in femous wars tens of milions lives and tel me remind you African countries civil wars .
    To AMANEAL Asena you are saying ( I fighting for Justice and ecuality )but I am not believing before you stop encouraging and allowing like Grar and his likes

    • Wedi Hagher October 10, 2016

      “To AMANEAL Asena you are saying ( I fighting for Justice and ecuality )but I am not believing before you stop encouraging and allowing like Grar and his likes”

      weddi Ekele Guzai

      I Grar (aka Teclay) is a resident hate monger here at
      His main job here is to insult Eritrean Muslims and Arabs continuously.
      Amanuel doesn’t care much about it … as long as he doesn’t insult Orthodox Christians, in that case you will see so many people here immediately reacting, may be talking about Terrorism, Arab barbarism, Taliban, the vandals .. etc.
      Amanuel is against Higdef, but it doesn’t translate to mean that he also stands for Muslims rights.

  • Wedi Hagher October 11, 2016

    One time you are calling yourself “memhr” another time “Hazo” but you cannot hide your self anymore.
    Multiple nicknames have not helped you to hide your true intentions and divisive tactics posing as an Eritrean while you are a rascal ‘agame’.from Tigrayonline.
    I don’t blame you because you are known to be what you are: a bigot.

    I blame Amanuel (assenna) and Tesfalidet (asmarino) for giving you a platform to insult Eritrean Muslims.

  • Lula October 11, 2016

    Lets wish our Ethiopian brothers and sisters peace and stability. The Tigrayans are not only our brothers and sisters who went all the way to Nakfa to defend our Ghedli but they are also our permanent neighbours and we surge then to fix the problems and avoid being Somalia or Yemen