Due to the ongoing state of emergency in Ethiopia, authorities have reportedly arrested more than 11,000 people since the day the state-of-emergency was announced.
According to Al Jazeera, most of these arrests took place in the Oromo and Amhara regions which contain more than 60% of the Ethiopian population, and home to the ethnic group who initiated the protests against the government.
“Some 11,607 individuals have so far been detained in six prisons, of which 347 are female, in connection with the state of emergency declared in the country,” official Taddesse Hordofa said in a televised statement on Saturday.
Hordofa stated that some of the offences for which they were being punished include “attacking security forces using firearms” or “killing civilians and members of security forces” to even “denying provision of public services” and “disrupting movement of vehicles”.
He added that all those arrested were above 18 years and no foreign citizen made the list.
The protests in Ethiopia initially began as a protest against a development scheme by the government in Addis Ababa threatening to force farmers out of their land later morphed into a protest of being marginalised by the government despite being the majority ethnic groups in Ethiopia.
This led to the eastern African country declaring a six-month nationwide state of emergency on October 9.
As part of the state-of-emergency, social media, mobile internet services are being blocked in the country. The government also instated a curfew and also banning diplomats from travelling more than 40km outside the capital without authorization.
Amnesty International has reported human rights violations, including arbitrary mass arrests, and restricted media access and internet censorship in Ethiopia. However, the board chairman did not comment on this in his statement.