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Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency to Stop Protests

  • VOA News

Men walk past a bus that was torched during protests in the town of Sebeta, Oromia region, Ethiopia, Oct. 8, 2016.

Men walk past a bus that was torched during protests in the town of Sebeta, Oromia region, Ethiopia, Oct. 8, 2016.

The Ethiopian government has announced a six-month state of emergency in response to intensifying and deadly anti-government protests across the country.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a televised address the declaration, which went into effect Saturday, was intended to curb recent attacks on government buildings and businesses.

The demonstrations originated in the Oromiya region in late 2015. Protesters initially rallied around demands for land rights and are now calling for increased political, economic and cultural rights.

State-run media indicated the details of the state of emergency would be released later Sunday.

Protesters run from tear gas being fired by police during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, Oct. 2, 2016.

Protesters run from tear gas being fired by police during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, Oct. 2, 2016.

Human rights groups report more than 450 people have been killed in unrest since last year.

Last Sunday, at least 55 people were killed in a stampede after police fired tear gas and shot in the air to disperse protesters.

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