The United States has expressed its disagreement with the imposition of the state of emergency in Ethiopia after the resignation of the Prime Minister to curb potential unrest.
A statement from the U.S. embassy in the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday said it shares the concern of the authorities against violence but “firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom, not less.”
“We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression,” the statement added.
Ethiopia’s defence minister announced the state of emergency on Friday, a day after the resignation of the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn following days of protests against the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government.
The state of emergency includes a ban on protests and publications that incite violence, Fegessa explained on Sunday. This will suppress planned protests ongoing in several parts of the country against human rights abuses, arrest of opposition figures and violence perpetrated by the security forces.
Ethiopia has faced unrest since 2015 after the arrest of students and opposition figures in the Oromia region who were demonstrating against unfair treatment and abuses by the EPRDF government. Thousands of protesters were jailed and many died in the process.
The attacks and arrests by security forces were condemned by international agencies and partners resulting in measures instituted by the government to address the issues which are still lingering.