US warns Ethiopia over clampdown

The US has warned Ethiopia that the state of emergency it imposed on Sunday will be a “self-defeating tactic” if it leads to dissent being suppressed, AFP news agency reports.

It quoted US State Department spokesman John Kirby as saying the government needed to clarify how it intended to implement a state of emergency which authorised  “detention without a warrant, limitations on free speech, prohibitions on public gatherings and the imposition of curfews”.

Mr Kirby added  that “even if these measures are intended to restore order, silencing independent voices and interfering with the rights of Ethiopians is a self-defeating tactic” that could worsen the situation.

However the US welcomed the government’s promise “to address some of the grievances raised by protesters such as land rights and electoral reform”.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the worst unrest to hit the country since the government took power in 1991.

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