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Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency to Stop Protests

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Just as Ethiopia works on its rise to becoming a manufacturing power, the country is in the midst of wide-reaching protests that could hamper the positive outlook on the African nation.

The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency in the country Sunday after a week of anti-government protests led to violence, death and what Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said had been “enormous” damage to property.

Much of the unrest is taking place near Ethiopia’s Oromia region—which includes the country’s capital Addis Ababa.

Protests seemed to turn violent, according to the Associated Press, after dozens of citizens were killed in a stampede on Oct. 2 when police fired bullets and tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters at a celebration in Bishoftu, where the country’s first fully sustainable denim plant was inaugurated last year.

The protests continued on Sunday with demonstrators blocking roads into and out of the capital and those trying to drive through have had to dodge rocks being pelted by protesters.

As part of the declared state of emergency, which the government hopes will help quell the violent protests, the Internet has been down for a week and will continue to be blocked until things settle so as not to ease protesters in getting support for increased or larger demonstrations.

“We put our citizens’ safety first. Besides, we want to put an end to damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, health centers, administration and justice buildings,” the prime minister said in a locally televised address.

The problem with the protests, apart from the obvious, is that those looking to Africa—Ethiopia especially—as the next big place for garment manufacturing had the country’s general lack of social unrest to bank on as one pro to doing business there. Now some of that could change as the world watches how Ethiopia deals with this state of emergency and considers how likely this type of unrest may be to happen again.

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