Restrictions on nightlife and meetings were imposed Monday in three major cities in Ethiopia's Amhara region, including the most populous, Gondar, in the wake of protests against the dismantling of regional military forces across Ethiopia.
According to similar statements issued by the municipal authorities of Gondar, Dessie and Debre Birhan, the restrictions are being imposed by the military "command posts" in each city, implying that security there is now in the hands of the federal army.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's federal government recently announced that it had begun the process of reassigning members of the military forces that have been gradually built up over the past 15 years by some regional states to the federal army or the police.
Called "special forces" in Ethiopia, these unconstitutional military units were tolerated until now.
Incidents have occurred in Amhara, where the "special forces" are powerful and provided crucial assistance to the federal army during its conflict with the rebel authorities in the Tigray region between late 2020 and late 2022.
In all three cities, motorized tricycles are now prohibited from travelling at night, and bars and nightclubs must close at 9 p.m. Strikes are prohibited and all meetings must be reported to the authorities.
It is also forbidden to carry a weapon or any object that can be used as a weapon - "knife, machete or iron bar" in particular -, to set off firecrackers and fireworks, or to wear any military clothing.
Members of the "special forces" are also ordered to assemble in designated areas.