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Ethiopian Parliament Lifts State of Emergency Imposed Last Year

FILE - A security guard sits near a gate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oct. 10, 2016, one day after a state of emergency was imposed.

The Ethiopian parliament lifted the state of emergency enacted last year, following months of protests that claimed hundreds of lives.

The parliament, which convened Friday for a special session, approved the measure shortly after listening to a report presented by Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa, head of the command set up to oversee the state of emergency.

In his report, Fegessa said that the country's peace and security situation has improved, despite some security issues remaining in parts of the country.

Emergency rule was imposed Oct. 9, 2016, after a development scheme for the capital Addis Ababa sparked unrest that turned into broader anti-government demonstrations about politics and human right abuses.

More than 600 people were killed in the unrest and over 21,000 arrested. The defense minister said 8,000 people are still behind bars, accused of crimes committed during the violence.

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