INTRODUCTION: Workers in seven Ethiopian factories have been issued with arms by the government which is taking an increasingly violent line against its enemies.
INTRODUCTION: Workers in seven Ethiopian factories have been issued with arms by the government which is taking an increasingly violent line against its enemies. The move follows the killing last month of the head of state, Brigadier General Teferi Bante, and the assumption of supreme power by Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam.
SYNOPSIS: The weapons were handed out in factories near the capital, Addis Ababa, on Friday (1 April). The Provisional Military Administrative Council was represented by Sergeant Legesse Asfaw. The council said the move was necessary to "raise the level of political consciousness of the masses and to organise them to the Ethiopian revolution can attain its objective."
The Sergeant then led the workers in a chant of "Long Live the Revolution."
The government is taking increasingly violent measures against the opposition and a report in the New York Times claims killings by the party are now common.
Those who are loyal to the government receive weapons -- often handed out door-to-door by supporters. Colonel Mengistu has promised that the 28 months of the socialist revolution, designed to life Ethiopia out of centuries of poverty, would move "from the defensive to the offensive." The country's facing yet another famine this year because political upheavals over land reform meant the spring sowing last year wasn't carried out. Ethiopia remains one of the world's poorest nations. It has only remained solvent because of its coffee exports.