Ethiopian officials move to lift state of emergency

As peace is being restored in Ethiopia, government officials on Saturday approved a draft for parliament asking to end the state of emergency put in place following anti-government protests.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrives for the swearing-in ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017. Government officials on Saturday approved a draft for parliament asking to end the state of emergency put in place following anti-government protests after the abrupt resignation of Hailemariam Desalegne, the previous prime minister. Photo by Str/EPA
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrives for the swearing-in ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2017. Government officials on Saturday approved a draft for parliament asking to end the state of emergency put in place following anti-government protests after the abrupt resignation of Hailemariam Desalegne, the previous prime minister. Photo by Str/EPA

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in February, one day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned.

Since Abiy Ahmed took office in April as the new prime minister, he has warmed to political dissidents and worked to reform state-owned businesses.

The new prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, announced the decision about the state of emergency on Twitter.

The state of emergency declared in February was the second in as many years for Ethiopia, Africa’s second-largest populated country and a key U.S. ally in the fight against extremists in the Horn of Africa.

Two ethnic groups that make up two-thirds of Ethiopia’s population, Oromo and Amhara, have protested over the lack of jobs and lack of political freedom, leading to hundreds killed and thousands imprisoned.

By Susan McFarland