A Government Plan, A People’s Protests and a Government’s Responses
The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on 9 October 2016. Protests in Oromia, which later spread to Amhara and other regions, had been ongoing since November 2015.
(Amnesty International) — The protests in the Oromia Region in November 2015 were initially against the government’s Addis Ababa ‘Master Plan’, which would have extended the capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromia Regional State. Protesters were concerned that the Master Plan would lead to evictions of Oromo farmers living in the outskirts of the capital.
Following the protests, in January 2016, the government announced that it was cancelling the Master Plan. However, the protesters’ demands had by then evolved to include the release of prisoners arrested simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, a demand for administrative autonomy of the Oromia Region, as well as political and economic justice. The protests in Oromia continued up until October 2016. In August 2016 protests began in the Amhara Region as well, sparked by the Wolkait Committee leaders’ detention. The committee was advocating for the self-determination of those living within the Wolkait district, a disputed area between the Tigray and Amhara ethnic groups.