INTRODUCTION: Ethiopia's military forces are facing growing pressure on several fronts as the situation in the country grows ever more tense.
INTRODUCTION: Ethiopia's military forces are facing growing pressure on several fronts as the situation in the country grows ever more tense. American cutbacks in military aid as a result of alleged violations of human rights in Ethiopia have raised the possibility of a major shift in alliances in an extremely volatile area. However, some things in the country remain consistent.
SYNOPSIS: A parade was held in Revolution Square in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Wednesday (7 April) to mark the 36th anniversary of liberation from Italian occupation forces. It is the first parade under the auspices of Ethiopia's new head of state, Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam, Chairman of the Provisional Military Administrative Council. On the third of February, former head of state Brigadier-General Teferi Bante was killed at the grand palace head-quarters of the ruling military council along with six other senior military leaders. This left Lieutenant-Colonel Haile-Mariam as the hardline Marxist head of state. Some of the first anniversary greetings came from Soviet Union leaders Nikolai Podgorny ad Alexei Kosygin. The message said the Soviet people followed with great attention and sympathy the achievements of the Ethiopian people who had embarked on the road of progressive socio-economic transformations. The new leader laid a wreath to remember dead soldiers.
Reports from Ethiopia say 200,000 people from the capital and the countryside were at the anniversary parade. Displays were given by all the armed forces. Both female and male war veterans also turned out in uniform to hear victory speeches from army leaders and the new head of state.
Lieutenant-Colonel Haile-Mariam said the oppressed masses of Ethiopia raised the banner of struggle proclaiming Ethiopia or death. He said imperialists were driven out by the Ethiopians but were brought back by the ruling class. He said all this was changed by the revolution of 1974 in which Emperor Haile-Selassie was overthrown. At the moment about half of the country's 45,000 regular troops are stationed in the Red Sea province of Eritrea, where two secessionist groups, according to sources quoted by Reuters, have been receiving supplies of heavy weapons.