Ethiopia under state of emergency after prime minister resigns

Ethiopia's prime minister resigned on Thursday amid widespread public protests

While the government considers who will take his place, it has imposed a state of emergency for the next six months.

In a statement posted on its website, the USA embassy said the decision to impose martial law in Ethiopia on Friday reverses positive steps taken to create a more inclusive political space, including the release of thousands of prisoners.

The US embassy statement said that "the challenges facing Ethiopia, whether to democratic reform, economic growth, or lasting stability, are best addressed through inclusive discourse and political processes, rather than through the imposition of restrictions".

While for some people, Desalegn's resignation comes as a "transformational moment", many see it as a result of an "unprecedented" wave of protests in Ethiopia.

The state of emergency will be presented for lawmakers' approval within 15 days, Siraj said.

A state of emergency has been imposed in Ethiopia a day after the country's prime minister resigned.

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That state of emergency led to the arrest of more than 22,000 people and severely affected business.

Numerous prisoners took part in anti-government protests in 2015 and 2016 in Amhara and Oromiya, the country's two most populous provinces.

Pressure on the ruling coalition, in power since 1991, began building in 2015 when protests against an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa sparked larger demonstrations demanding more freedom and civil rights.

The last state of emergency in 2016, which lasted for nine months, came after months of deadly protests in Oromia and the neighboring Amhara region.Some 29,000 people were detained under the decree, while rights groups claimed people were beaten and subjected to arbitrary detentions.

The announcement said the state of emergency was deemed necessary to quell unrest in various parts of the country and to prevent destruction of public property.

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