Ethiopia has arrested leading opposition leader Merera Gudina after he returned from a trip to Europe. Gurdina was arrested upon his arrival at the airport in the capital Addis Ababa, according to the English private magazine Addis Standard.
Gudina had travelled to Brussels where he alleged, during a hearing at the European Parliament, that Ethiopian security forces had committed human rights violations during recent unrest in the country.
It is believed Gudina called for the parliament in Addis Ababa to be dissolved and for the establishment of a transitional government, the opposition website Ethiopian Satellite Television ESAT reported.
Esat added Gudina was arrested by the command post, founded to oversee the implementation of a state of emergency Ethiopia declared in October following months of anti-government protests in Oromia and Amhara regions.
Media outlets affiliated with the government had been campaigning for his arrest, claiming Gudina had violated the state of emergency by attending the hearing at the European parliament, Esat continued.
Professor Berhanu Nega, the leader of Patriotic Ginbot 7 – which Ethiopia labelled as a terrorist organisation – and Olympic marathon silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa were also present at the hearing.
Lilesa failed to return to Ethiopia after he staged a protest against alleged human rights abuses committed by his government earlier this year. 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.
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 later 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.
More on state of emergency
- Five things Ethiopia has banned
- Mass arrests in Oromia after state of emergency declared
- EU calls for dialogue with Ethiopia as state of emergency declared
Full document on state of emergency here