Internet was shut off for nearly three hours on Wednesday afternoon as Ethiopian soldiers took to the streets, protesting low pay and demanding a review of military operations, according to state television (ETV).
Hundreds of soldiers, who had been deployed on a mission in Burayu to quell ethnic violence, marched to the prime minister’s office and were invited in to see him.
The soldiers reportedly reached an agreement with Abiy Ahmed, although the details are yet to be divulged.
ETV said the soldiers asked for pay rises and a ‘review of the structure and operations of the military’.
Fitsum Arega, chief of staff in Abiy’s office said the prime minister ‘listened to their grievances, reprimanded them for the wrong procedure used and promised to meet them properly in the near future’.
The state broadcaster, who did not publish images of the soldiers marching, explained that the internet had been shut off to prevent the circulation of fake news on social media.
It is not the first time the country has resorted to internet cuts for political reasons. In the past, government accused activists of abusing social media to spread inciting material that has often led to anti-government protests.
Abiy, 42, took office in April after several years of unrest forced his predecessor to resign. He has pledged to reform the security forces and promote multi-party democracy.
These changes are a shock to the system in Ethiopia, a country of more than 100 million people led with an iron fist since the EPRDF coalition that Abiy belongs to seized power in 1991.
Source : AfricaNews and ETV