Arrests Coupled With Harsh Security Crackdown on Protesters
Ethiopian authorities arrested more than 11,000 people since the African nation declared a state of emergency in early October.
State of Emergency Inquiry Board chairperson Taddesse Hordofa said in a statement broadcast by EBC around 11,607 people were detained in six prisons that included 347 females.
This number of arrests is a huge increase on the 2,500 arrests that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s government declared at the end of October.
These arrests were in relation to the state of emergency declared in the country on October 9.
Political instability has gripped the African nation for almost a year as the government cracked down on anti-government demonstrators.
Long List of Violations
Hordofa enumerated a long list of offences made by the imprisoned individuals. Violations range from serious crimes such as “attacking security forces using firearms” or “killing civilians and members of security forces.” Aside from that, individuals were also apprehended for lesser violations such as “denying provision of public services” and “disrupting movement of vehicles.”
The number of arrests were more dominant in Oromo region and then spread to Amhara in the north. Outbreaks of violence also first sparked in these places which make up 60 per cent of the country’s population.
Foreign Investors Affected by the Violence
Foreign investors who are attracted by cheap electricity from Ethiopia’s huge new hydroelectric dams are feeling the heat from protesters.
Aside from that, the country’s budding tourist industry is taking a hit. Last month, the Bishangari Lodge, on Lake Langano about 200 km south of Addis Ababa, was looted and torched.
Unrest in the Country
The violence sparked in the country began in the central Oromo region and then spread to Amhara in the north, causing hundreds of deaths.
Media reports say the protests were focused on broader political issues including accusing the government of stifling the opposition, unfair arrests, decades of marginalization of Ethiopian tribes, and triggering protests on the harsh security crackdown.
The government, which won a parliamentary election in 2015 considered this political instability as the biggest challenge of its 25 years in power.