The Council of ministers is set to declare a state of emergency for three months as of this morning, a source close to the government told Addis Standard. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn remains in the post after announcing Thursday he had submitted a resignation letter to help planned reforms succeed.
Tigrayan officials dismiss claims of unbridled control over the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), but acknowledge the necessity to widen the political space.
"We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government's decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression", the embassy said in a statement.
A government statement said the state of emergency, which Siraj said must receive legislative approval within 15 days, was declared to "protect the constitutional order and to protect peace and security".
But anti-government sentiment remained in the two regions and the analysts believe Hailemariam's response to the protests eventually led to his resignation, a first in modern Ethiopia.
He said he wanted to smooth the way for reforms.
Ethiopia's cabinet on Friday cited deaths, ethnic attacks and mass displacement as reasons for the latest state of emergency.
Nonetheless, Oromo activists called a strike earlier this week that saw businesses shutter and young men armed with rocks and sticks block roads in Oromia to push the government to keep its prisoner amnesty promise.
Under a previous state of emergency, declared in October 2016 and lasting 10 months, thousands of Ethiopians were arrested by the military.
As chairman of EPRDF, Desalegn won praises for his technocratic expertise, though he has struggled to rise politically above the shadow of Meles, who ruled the east African country for 21 years.