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Defiance strike in Ethiopia’s Amhara region over state of emergency

The city of Gondar in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara regional state has been hit by a strike days after the declaration of a national state of emergency by the Council of Ministers.

Even though it is not known who called for the sit-down strike, reports indicate that the measure has left the city deserted. Shops have not opened and some government offices remain closed.

According to a top blogger, Befeqadu Hailu, the city is pressing ahead with the strike despite it being a prohibited act under the state of emergency declared late last week. Minister of defense Siraj Fegessa stated that it will be in place for six months.

Amhara region along with Oromia were the main centers of spreading anti-government protests that led to the imposition of the last state of emergency in October 2016.

The six-month measure eventually run for ten months after the government extended it by four months in April. It was lifted in August 2017 and followed by a series of security headaches.

According to government, the latest state of emergency is aimed at curbing rising insecurity across the country following the release of hundreds of political prisoners. Addis Ababa said the move, part of wider reforms, was aimed at fostering national unity.

The state of emergency was imposed almost twenty-four hours after the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. He will, however, stay on till the ruling coalition settles on his replacement at their next congress.

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