Ethiopian lawmakers approve state of emergency


Ethiopian lawmakers have approved the state of emergency announced by the government last month to control continuing anti-government protests in various parts of the country.

The parliamentarians on Friday passed legislation to keep the emergency in place for six months, with the possibility of extending it for a further three months. The measure passed with 395 members of parliament voting for it, 88 against and seven abstentions. The opposition is unprecedented in recent Ethiopian politics as all lawmakers are from the ruling coalition or from affiliated parties.The emergency is needed to restore order that has been disrupted by the anti-government demonstrations, said Prosecutor General Getachew Ambaye. "Recent developments in various parts of the country have indicated that citizens' rights were curbed and even the free movement of people was jeopardized. Ethnic-based violence was on the rise in some areas," he said. "The state of emergency is needed to safeguard constitutionally guaranteed rights."

This is Ethiopia's second state of emergency in two years and it came a day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned. The election of a new prime minister is expected early next week.

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