• Short Summary

    About four thousand members of the Afars tribe held demonstrations in Djibouti, the capital of the Territory of the Afars and Issas, on Friday (12 December, 1975).

  • Description

    GV Demonstrators headed by police marching through streets.

    SV Demonstrators waving olive branches as they run through streets.

    SV PAN Demonstrators outside buildings.

    SV President of Council of Government, Ali Aref Bourhan addresses demonstrators. (2 shots)

    TOP GV Large crowd listening to Bourhan.

    LV Armed police standing by.

    TOP VIEW PAN FROM Speaker to large crowd clapping and cheering.

    Initials VS 23.35-VS 23.50

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: About four thousand members of the Afars tribe held demonstrations in Djibouti, the capital of the Territory of the Afars and Issas, on Friday (12 December, 1975).

    They were showing their opposition to neighbouring Somalia, with whom the Afars' rival tribe, the Issas, have blood and kinship connections.

    They were also demonstrating their support for the Territory's Chief Minister Mr. Ali Aref Bourhan, who has said he wants continued French military and economic aid when the french-controlled colony is granted independence.

    The Territory is the last French colonial outpost in Africa and France has promised discussions on independence soon.

    But rival political factions are strongly opposed to further French aid after independence and would prefer France to leave the Territory altogether.

    The French have voiced fears that, if they withdraw, neighbouring Ethiopia and Somalia could fight a war over rival claims to the territory.

    Somalia is another Moslem country, stretching southward down the Indian Ocean coast of Africa, and its troops already face the Ethiopians in an uneasy peace across a dispute frontier in the Ogaden Desert.

    Ethiopia -- which has lately expressed support for the policies of Mr. Ali Aref -- voted against a resolution of the United Nations Trusteeship committee earlier this month on the grounds that the resolution did not specifically call on Somalia to abandon all claims to the territory.

    In the Territory itself, tribal loyalties and rivalries are increasing in antagonism with the prospect of independence. The Afars have, until now, generally wilded the power and influence to the detriment of the Issas, who are now calling on Somalia for assistance.

    Economically the country is weak. It produces almost no food and has negligible mineral resources. Its main income comes from the 5,000-odd French troops and legionaries stationed around Djibouti....and its position as neighbouring Ethiopia's main southern port. With the loss of Eritrean ports to rebel hands, Ethiopia has come to depend heavily on Djibouti's facilities and the railroad linking the port with Addis Ababa.

    The demonstration on Friday took place on the annual Moslem feast day of Aid-El-Adha. Normally the Chief Minister holds a huge garden party as a celebration, but it was shelved this year following an assassination attempt on Mr. Ali Aref's life earlier in the month.

    All forms of public meetings have now been banned. But -- like the Issas have done this was ignored by the Afars. After stopping in Front of Mr. Ali Aref's residence, and being addressed by him, the protestors made their way to the Somalian consulate shouting "Afars, Afars".

    They were also protesting at Somalia's attitude to France and the Territory on the independence issue. Somalia recently called for a complete demilitarisation of the Indian Ocean and an end to the French presence in Djibouti. Head of State, President Muhammed Siad Barre has also warned there will be bloodshed if control of the independent territory is given to Mr.Ali Aref and the Afars.

    SYNOPSIS: Thousands of Afars tribesmen demonstrated in Djibouti, the capital of French-controlled Territory of the Afars and Issas last Friday. They ware showing their support for the colony's Chief Minister Mr. Ali Aref Bourhan...and protesting against the policies of neighbouring Somalia.

    The Afars' rival tribe, the Issas, have blood and kinship ties with Somalia and want to see the Territory become part of Somalia after it's given independence from France. The Territory is the last French colonial stronghold in Africa and France has promised independence discussions soon.

    Until now, the Afars have wielded the power in the Territory and their leader, Mr. Ali Aref Bourhan has called for continuing French aid after independence. But the Issas want France to quit the country completely.

    Both Somalia and Ethiopia have formerly claimed the Territory... although Ethiopia's recently given support to Mr. Ali Aref after independence. Friday's demonstration marked an annual Moslem feast day - traditionally celebrated by a garden party. This was cancelled because of a recent attempt on the Chief Minister's life.

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