Social media, diplomats' movement and local TV channels are some of the things Ethiopia has banned under a state of emergency declared in October due to prolonged unrest in the country. The new measures were announced after months of anti-government protests in Oromia state and the Amhara region.

The state of emergency is supposed to last for six months. It was declared after activists and rights groups repeatedly claimed protests have resulted in the death of more than 500 people. They accuse the police and army of using disproportionate force against protesters, something the authorities have denied.

The opposition claimed the new measures aim to quell ongoing anti-government protests.

However, the government said, in several statements, the state of emergency will be used to coordinate security forces against "anti-peace elements" blamed for the protests.

Here are five things among a list of 31 that the government has banned under its state of emergency:

1. Gestures

Ethiopians are no longer allowed to make political gestures, such as crossing their arms above their heads, a typical sign of protest used by Oromo people.

Earlier this year, Olympics silver medal winner Feyisa Lilesa failed to return to Ethiopia after he staged a protest against alleged human rights abuses committed by his government.

The runner crossed his arms over his head after he crossed the finish line of the men's marathon in Rio de Janeiro on 21 August.

Feyisa Lilesa
Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms above his head as a protest against the Ethiopian government's crackdown on political dissent at the finish line of the Men's Marathon athletics event of the Rio 2016 Olympic GamesOLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

2. Communication with terrorists or communication that creates misunderstanding

Any communication, including writing, that will create misunderstanding between people or unrest is prohibited. Any communication with "terrorists and anti-peace groups" is also forbidden.

This includes "sharing or distributing writings from terrorist groups, holding their logos or advertisements."

People are also barred from using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to contact "outside forces".

3. Assemblies and Protests

Ethiopians have been barred from holding unauthorised protests and assemblies in order to ensure peace in the country. Rallies in education buildings are also forbidden. Protesting on religious, traditional or public holidays is no longer possible.

4. "Terrorist" media

Ethiopian citizens are no longer allowed to watch TV channels or lisent to radio programmes including the independent Ethiopian satellite service (Esat) and the Oromia Media Network (OMN) "or other similar terrorist linked media".

5. Freedom of movement

Diplomats cannot travel more than 40km (25m) outside of the capital Addis Ababa without official permission. People cannot enter public places if they are in possession of firearms, sharp objects "or anything that will cause fire". If a curfew is ordered, "movement of persons is prohibited."


Full document on state of emergency here


Ethiopia Oromo Oromia
Demonstrators show the traditional Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, an Oromo thanksgiving holiday, in Bishoftu, in the Oromia regionTiksa Negeri/Reuters