UN rights chief: Ethiopia blocked access to protest areas

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2017 11:28 AM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief says Ethiopian officials have blocked his staff's access to areas that experienced deadly protests during one of the country's most violent periods in recent memory.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein spoke Thursday during a three-day visit to the East African nation at the government's invitation. Ethiopia's prime minister has rejected United Nations and other outside requests to investigate the months of anti-government protests demanding more political freedoms.

The government says more than 600 people were killed and largely blames the political opposition for the unrest.

Thousands of people were detained amid the protests, and Ethiopia in October declared a state of emergency that recently was extended.

Zeid expressed alarm at the "extremely large number" of arrests and said some charges against those detained "may be misplaced."