By ANDUALEM SISAY
Ethiopia’s cabinet has approved draft bill to lift state of emergency imposed in February following widespread anti-government protests.
The decision to lift the state of emergency, originally scheduled for August, was arrived at after the Council of Ministers meeting on Saturday morning.
The draft bill has been sent to parliament for approval.
“The Council of Ministers in its today’s regular meeting reviewed the security situation of the country. It noted that law and order has been restored. It has approved a draft law that lifts the State of Emergency,” prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega tweeted.
Ethiopia imposed the current state of emergency a day after surprise resignation of the then-prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn following two years of anti-government protests led by the Oromo.
Unrest among the Oromos started in late 2015 over a government development plan they decried as unfair, and soon spread to the country’s second-largest ethnicity, the Amhara.
The protests resulted in hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of arrests and only stopped after Ethiopia was placed under emergency rule for 10 months from October 2016.
New Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, sworn in in April, has asked citizen for patience as he works to bring change to the country.
He has released thousands of prisoners in the restive regions in the country as well as those living abroad including Sudan, Kenya and Saudi Arabia.