Ethiopia has extended a state of emergency implemented last October after anti-government protests have rocked both Oromia and Amhara regions. The emergency was due to end tomorrow (31 March) but has been extended by four months.

Parliament made the decision due to the fact some people are still perceived as a threat to peace and security in the country, the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported.

Parliament also urged security forces to avoid committing human rights violation.

The response to the protests, labelled as the biggest anti-government unrest Ethiopia has witnessed in recent history, has resulted in the death of more than 500 people since November 2015, a figure the government confirmed.

Among other things, protesters called for the release of political prisoners, and demonstrated against perceived disenfranchisement and lack of inclusion in the political process as the government is dominated by the Tigray minority.

During rallies, some Oromo people, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, attacked foreign-owned factories, acts of violence that it was feared they could result in a reduction in investments in the country.

Critics to the state of emergency claimed the government was trying to quell protests by, among other things, banning certain media outlets, including the Oromia Media Network. The government has denied the allegations.

At least 20,659 citizens jailed since the emergency was declared have now been released. Another 5,000 suspects, however, are still in custody.