Ethiopia limits diplomats' movements, media access

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia has banned access to foreign-based opposition media and restricted foreign diplomats' travel, in new provisions of a state of emergency.

The government declared the six-month state of emergency eight days ago, stepping up its response to an unprecedented wave of protests against its authoritarian rule which has left hundreds dead.

New restrictions published in local media on Sunday also include a 50km "red zone" adjacent to the country's borders in which it is illegal to carry firearms. The areas around several key roads have also been declared red zones.

Foreign diplomats are forbidden from travelling more than 40km outside the capital, Addis Ababa, "for their own security".

"This is a state of emergency and we expect repressive measures," a western diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity on Monday.


"But we also expect an opening of the political space for the opposition as stated by the president in front of the parliament. This is not what seem to be happening," the diplomat added.

The measures include a 18:00 to 06:00 curfew around factories, farms and government institution, which have come under attack from protesters in recent weeks.

Political parties are "banned from giving press statements that incite violence" and religious leaders are forbidden from making political statements.

Security forces are banned from going on holiday or resigning their jobs.

The measures also make it illegal to watch television stations set up by the diaspora such as Ethiopian Satellite television (ESAT) and the US-based Oromia Media Network (OMN).

Criminal activity 

Posting links from these organisations' websites onto social media has also been declared a "criminal activity".

Cellphone internet access has been cut for almost three weeks in most parts of the country, including the capital.

The country's Oromo and Amhara communities - which together make up 60% of the population - have been protesting for nearly a year against marginalisation by a government largely made up of minority Tigrayans, which controls power and the economy.

The latest surge in violence came after police fired tear gas at protesters attending an Oromo religious festival on October 2, sparking panic in a massive crowd and triggering a stampede that left over 50 dead.

International rights groups estimate the government crackdown has left more than 500 dead.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn promised last week to reform the electoral system and "open up political space".

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 2462 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
53% - 12634 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 8125 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 808 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.