Ethiopia’s parliament voted on Friday to lift a state of emergency that was declared in 2016 following months of deadly protests that killed hundreds of people.
Emergency rule was imposed in October 2016 after unrest, sparked by a development scheme for the capital Addis Ababa, turned into broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.
Originally imposed for a six-month period, the state of emergency is in its tenth month after it was extended by four months upon the first expiration in March 2017.
The move was occasioned by spreading anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the East African country.
Since January 2016, the human rights situation in Ethiopia has stagnated according to a Human Rights Watch reports which said security forces have killed more than 500 people during protests over the course of 2016.
The government reported mass arrests of persons believed to be behind the protests; some have been released after training whiles others have been arraigned before the courts on offences of destroying private and public property.
The Command Post administering the curfew has reported that relative peace has returned to the country, consequent to which most stinging restrictions under the state of emergency were lifted.
The U.S. and United Kingdom maintained their travel advisories for Ethiopia even though some European countries have lifted theirs with the ‘return to peace.’
Days after the imposition of a six-month state of emergency by the government, the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, had said that the government was committed to broad-base political reforms.
The European Union Chief and German Chancellor all weighed in for such efforts to be all inclusive.
The government in November 2016 announced a cabinet reshuffle which saw the appointment of two Oromos, the ethnic group behind agitations in one of the protest regions, to cabinet positions of Foreign Affairs and Communications.