The literature on Ethiopia emphasizes a top-down powerful state that dictates public life, and citizens who are passive and submissive subjects. Drawing on diverse cases of social movements that resulted in changes in government decision, law or policy, this chapter argues that state-society relations are more complex than what is depicted. The cases include, chronologically: (1) citizen mobilization in the former North Omo Zone; (2) the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association’s advocacy work; (3) public mobilization leading up to the 2005 election, which resulted in significant losses for the EPRDF and forced the ruling party to alter their course; (4) protests by the Muslim community against state interference in religion; and (5) the Oromo protests that led to cancelation of a proposed Addis Ababa Master Plan. We argue that while the government has been centrist and has acted in heavy-handed ways that restricted the inclusion and voice of its people, citizens have engaged and demanded change to decisions, laws, policies and programs that they did not agree with.