Thousand of Ethiopians marched through the streets of Addis Ababa on Thursday (2 March) to celebrate the 82nd anniversary of Ethiopia's victory over the Italian colonial forces at the Battle of Adowa.
Thousand of Ethiopians marched through the streets of Addis Ababa on Thursday (2 March) to celebrate the 82nd anniversary of Ethiopia's victory over the Italian colonial forces at the Battle of Adowa. The marchers were addressed by the Ethiopian Head of State, Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam, who compared the present attacks on Ethiopia with those of the Italians at Adowa.
A young boy dressed in military uniform and armed with a wooden riffle led the march through the Menelik II Square. Following behind were thousands of Ethiopian soldiers. The Ethiopian News Agency reported the celebration as "an unprecedented display of patriotic fervour manifesting the revolutionary transformation the new generation has undergone". The News-Agency said the march was a remainder to Ethiopia's enemies that a proud and revolutionary people had risen in unison against do many enemies at so many odds.
The Ethiopian leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu, and members of the Provisional Military Administrative Council applauded salutes from the soldiers.
Thousands of civilians followed the soldiers. Many carried staves or make-believe wooden guns to symbolise their readiness to safeguard their country. Placards were raised displaying anti-imperialist slogans. One read, "Ethiopia is not on sale for dollars".
Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu told the crowd the time was fast approaching when Ethiopia's present enemies would be crushed. He said Ethiopia was not struggling with single invading army but against more than 13 countries which directly or indirectly supported the invasions. He said the Soviet Union and other socialist countries were helping Ethiopia, and said Cuban forces were supporting the Ethiopian Army at the front line. Colonel Mengistu warned that unless Somalian troops immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Ethiopia, the struggle would be intensified.
National Theatre artist re-enacted the famous battle of Adowa. It was the first serious defeat of a colonial power at which Ethiopia routed an invading Italian forces in 1896.
Actors as captured Italian soldiers were paraded before the crowd as part of the ceremony. The Ethiopian News Agency said although the anniversary was celebrated with great national pride it was also an occasion to condemn its latest enemies.