Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared a six-month state of emergency in a televised address on Sunday following months of anti-government protests (BBC). The protests were carried out by the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara people, complaining that power is held by a small Tigrean elite (BBC). According to government officials, factories and companies’ premises were damaged, and many roads to the capital were completely blocked during a recent wave of protests (Al Jazeera 1).
On Monday, a government spokesman accused Eritrea and Egypt of being directly involved in arming, financing and training “armed gangs.” The spokesman noted, however, it could be elements who lack formal government support acting rather than “state actors” (Al Jazeera 2). The spokesman alleged that Egypt had trained and financed the outlawed rebel Oromo Liberation Front, which Egypt denies (AP).
Sporadic protests have erupted in Oromia region in the past two years, initially sparked by a land boundary row. Since late 2015, hundreds of protestors have been killed in clashes with police, although the government has dropped the controversial land boundary plan earlier this year.
Tags: Egypt, Ethiopia, protests, African Development, Derks, Eritrea