Ethiopia lifts some restrictions imposed during state of emergency

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 15, 2017 9:15 AM

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The Ethiopian government has lifted some restrictions imposed during a state of emergency declared last year following deadly protests, state-run media quoted the defense minister as saying on Wednesday.

Minister Siraj Fegessa ended powers granted to security services to stop and search suspects and to search homes without court authorization.

Siraj, who chairs the government's body overseeing the state of emergency, also revoked a dusk-to-dawn curfew on access to economic installations, some infrastructure and factories for unauthorized people.

"These measures were lifted because it is our belief that the ordinary security arrangements are sufficient enough to maintain calm," the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted Siraj as saying in a news conference for local journalists.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October following months of deadly protests that killed around 500 people. Anger over a development scheme for the capital sparked broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

A rule barring diplomats from traveling beyond a 40 kilometer (25 miles) radius of the capital without authorization was lifted in November.

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But other restrictions remain. Engaging opposition groups branded as "terrorist movements" is still forbidden. Ethiopia has designated five groups, including two armed secessionist groups, as terrorist organizations.

Another directive, barring the "preparation, distribution and exhibition of material that could incite chaos" remains intact.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Tom Heneghan)