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All forms of peaceful protests banned in Ethiopia as state of emergency returns through backdoor

National Security Council regulation authorize security forces to take “necessary measure” in the event of protest in Ethiopia

Ethiopia News
November 11,2017

Barely four months after hesitantly ended state of emergency, Ethiopian government is imposing regulation which in effect serves as a state of emergency without declaring state of emergency.

Yesterday, National Security Council (it is composed of individuals from the military, Defense ministry, security apparatus and the prime minister) passed decision to ban all forms of peaceful protest in Ethiopia – a decision that violates article 30 of the Ethiopian constitution. More, no time frame is announced as to when the ban on peaceful demonstration will come to an end. The decision will come as no surprise since the constitution is regularly violated by the government although it throws opposition voices to jail with alleged charges of “posing threat to the constitutional order.”

Added to that, with the new NSC regulation security forces are legally authorized to take measures in the event of peaceful protest which the Oromia regional state reportedly opposed. Security forces killed dozens of civilians during recent peaceful protests in Shashemane and Ambo towns in the region before “authorization” from National Security Council. Extra judicial killing is not rare in Ethiopia – especially when people dared to exercise constitutional right to protest peacefully.

A report by Wazema Radio indicated that there were voices during the National Security Council who advanced the argument that ” killing people will only aggravate the opposition; political solution could work better”

The Oromo region was rocked recurring series of protests since last month after thousands of Oromo speaking Ethiopians were displaced from Somali Ethiopia region in what appeared to be ethnic based conflict although government did not recognize it that way as it is linking it rather to illegal Khat trade in the region.

According to the new regulation by National Security Council, the Ethiopian defense force is to be involved in the task of maintaining security across towns Ethiopia especially in areas affected by recent protests.

Significant change as per the new regulation is that federal security is to give order directly to regional security apparatus, as deemed necessary, which in a way erodes the tenets of the federal arrangement. There was an implicit antagonism from federal authorities towards security personnel in Oromo region of Ethiopia on grounds that they cooperated for the recent persistent protests to happen in the region.

The council is to announce in due course additional measures to be taken to restore “security”

Demand for change is popular in Ethiopia albeit the elites that are dominant in the ruling coalition tend to see it as an interruption to “development effort”or even as “sabotages” blamed formerly on “anti-peace forces” and now on what government calls “rent-seekers” – a reference to economic and political corruption.

Video credit : EbC
Cover Photo : Screenshot from EBC video
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