Ethiopian Govt. Bans Social Media, News and More In State Of Emergency

By Arielle Butler

JACKSONVILLE, FLA.- Due to a wave of civil unrest following the deaths of 55 people at the Oromo Religious Festival earlier this month, the Ethiopian government has  banned online communication.

Violent protests have claimed the lives of over 500 people and many businesses, mostly foreign-owned, have been destroyed. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn delcared a state of emergency to put a strict ban on “outside forces” in an effort to restore normalcy.

feyisa Lilesa shedding light to the world at the 2016 Olympics in Rio about the turmoil in his native country Ethiopia. This gesture is a symbol of political oppression.

The Ethiopian government has banned the following:

  • Social Media– No one is allowed to post about what is happening in Ethiopia via social media. This includes globally popular sites and apps Facebook and Twitter. Both have been tools for citizens to spread the word globally about the protests and is believed by Ethiopian officials to be fueled by the Egyptian and Eriterian governments.
  • TV Stations-Ethiopia has banned TV stations OMN and Esat, calling them terrorist organizations. Both stations are popular for broadcasting the Oromo protests and are based outside of Ethiopia.
  • Gestures– No one is allowed to make political gestures with hands without permission, per Ethiopian government officials.
  • Protests– No one is allowed to protest or gather for demonstrations in opposition to government
  • Curfew-No one is allowed to visit a farm, factory or government institution between 6PM and 6AM
  • Firearms– No one, even if legally permitted to carry one, can have a possess a weapon 25 kilometers outside of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Diplomats living and travelling in Ethiopia have been restricted from travelling outside of Addis Ababa for their own safety.

There is no main thing that has caused the string of turmoil in the troubled country. Many of it stems from disputes between ethic groups and social elites. The Oromos make up a third of the Ethipian population, yet over time has voiced frustration of exclusion out of political and economic playing fields in Ethiopia.

Other ethnic groups, such as the Amharas and the Tigrays (both based north of Addis Ababa) hold majority of Ethiopian government positions and high-ranking in law enforcement.

There were talks in early 2016 to expand Addis Ababa to the Oromia region, however after a 3-day-negotiation fell through, sparking bloodshed through protests from opposing views.

The ban is projected to span over the next 6 months.