The Ethiopian authorities have detained more than 1,600 people under the state of emergency, a government minister has told the BBC.

A statement, quoted by state-affiliated FBC website, lists arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which have recently seen massive demonstrations.

This is in addition to Monday’s arrests of 1,000 people near the capital.

A six-month state of emergency has been declared in the face of a wave of unprecedented anti-government protests.

Under the emergency measures, people can be detained without an arrest warrant for the duration of the state of emergency.

FBC reports that a total of 1,683 people have been arrested in at least five places, including in Shashamene, 250km (155 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa, where 450 people have been detained.

It describes most of those arrested as “suspects in the recent violence” and adds that a large number of looted weapons had also been handed over.

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Some business people have been detained for closing their shops, as have three teachers for “abandoning school”.

There is no mention where the people are being held.

Rights groups say that at least 500 people have died during the anti-government protests over the last 11 months as a result of clashes with security forces.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said last week that could be an accurate estimate, but blamed “anti-peace forces” for the trouble.

Activists have targeted commercial property, including some foreign-owned businesses.

Continue reading this story on BBC News
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