By David Gilbert
The Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency in the country as it intensifies a crackdown on widespread anti-government protests born of frustration that’s been fomenting for decades. In the past two weeks alone, authorities have arrested thousands of protesters, overwhelmingly young people by some accounts.
In the unprecedented anti-government protests sweeping the country, this week alone has seen more than 2,600 people detained in the Oromia and Amhara regions, with 450 arrested in the capital Addis Ababa. Those detained include business owners who closed their shops and teachers who “abandoned their schools.” In June, Human Rights Watch reported that “tens of thousands” of protesters had been arrested since the unrest that began 11 months ago.
However, the number arrested is already likely much higher than the figure quoted by the government, according to Fisseha Tekle, the chief researcher for Amnesty International in Ethiopia. He told VICE News that arrests are ongoing and that the focus is on younger people.
“They must have some list, the security forces, because they are not arresting everyone, but they really target the youths, because it is the youths who have been protesting for the last year,” Tekle said. “They don’t arrest older people; students are the main target.”
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