The UN’s human rights high commissioner (OHCHR) has repeated a demand that the Ethiopian government allow his office access to the protest-hit areas of the country. This comes after a week of protests sparked by the deaths at a religious festival in a town in Oromia on Sunday.

In a statement, the OHCHR says that “independent observers” should be allowed to go to “the Oromia and Amhara regions to speak to all sides and assess the facts”. It adds that “the protests have apparently been fuelled in part by a lack of trust in the authorities’ account of events”, but it calls on all sides to remain calm.

The OHCHR says it is also concerned about the arrest of two bloggers, Seyoum Teshoume and Natnael Feleke, earlier this week.

“We urge the government to release those detained for exercising their rights to free expression and opinion. Silencing criticism will only deepen tensions,” it says.