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Amhara Quiet Following Protests

FILE: Members of the Amhara militia ride on the back of a pick up truck in the city of Gondar, on Nov. 8, 2020. Protests recently erupted in Amhara over government plans to integrate militias into the army.

ADDIS ABABA - Calm has returned to Ethiopia's protest-hit region of Amhara, residents told AFP on Thursday, after several days of public demonstrations against government plans to dismantle regional military forces.

On Thursday, a resident of Bahir Dar, the region's administrative capital, told AFP that transport had resumed in the city.

"Today is peaceful. Banks are open, and shops are starting to open," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A resident of Debre Birhan, where authorities imposed curbs on Monday, told AFP in a text message that "everything is calm".

Another resident based in Amhara's most populous city of Gondar said the situation was peaceful on Thursday, as Ethiopians prepare for the Orthodox Easter holiday.

It was not possible to independently confirm the situation on the ground in Amhara, as the region is restricted to journalists for what the authorities say are security reasons.

The violence erupted after the government announced plans to dismantle unconstitutional military forces established by some states to protect their interests in Africa's second-most populous nation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Sunday that the initiative to dismantle the regional forces was for the sake of multi-ethnic Ethiopia's "unity" and warned that law enforcement measures would be taken against any "destructive" opposition.

The National Movement of Amhara, a local opposition group, has described the move to disarm the special forces as "completely irresponsible" and a threat to regional security.