Under the tightest security seen in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for some time hundreds of people marched through the streets on Sunday (26 September) to proclaim their support for the military government.
Under the tightest security seen in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for some time hundreds of people marched through the streets on Sunday (26 September) to proclaim their support for the military government. They were protesting against the attempted assassination three days earlier of government leader, Major Mengistu Haile Mariam. The Major, who escaped the attempt with a slight leg wound, was at the rally.
SYNOPSIS: As the demonstrators flooded into the streets many carried anti-United States placards. Although' not yet been arrested for the assassination attempt, Major Haile Mariam blamed the attack on "anarchisign corimperialists". The underground Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Party (EPRP) -- a Marxist-Leninist group -- has also been accused of complicity in the attack. And there was plenty of anti-EPRP feeling voiced by the demonstrators. Major Haile Mariam came to power three years ago with the overthrow of the late Emperor Haile Selassie who'd ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist for 53 years. The major is the first vice-chairman of the country's ruling military council -- the Deargue. Although Brigadier-General Teferi Banti is head of state, it's Major Haile Mariam who's generally regarded as the country's effective leader.
The demonstration was centred in the city's Revolution Square. As the marchers arrived they were escorted by military jeeps mounted with machine guns, and armed police on horseback.
When Major Haile Mariam arrived he was given a warm ovation. To show everyone he was fit and well after his narrow escape from death, he paraded around the square for some time before taking the dais to address the crowd. The assassination attempt was made in the centre of Addis Ababa when Major Haile Mariam was returning home from his office in the evening. Although his car was escorted by an armed vehicle, his party was ambushed and showered with bullets from what is believed to have been a machine gun. One of the major's companions was also slightly wounded. The attack came on the heels of other shootings and anti-government strikes in various state-controlled organisations in recent weeks.