Angry students demonstrated outside parliament in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on Thursday (March 28) during a debate on a draft bill calling for unrestricted freedoms of speech and the press.
Angry students demonstrated outside parliament in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on Thursday (March 28) during a debate on a draft bill calling for unrestricted freedoms of speech and the press. The students were demanding political and social reforms including free education for the poor, land for peasants, and the trial of former government ministers ousted in last month's army uprising. Their chanting frequently drowned out the debate.
Tension had earlier been mounting throughout the country with rival army factions divided between moderate elements of the Fourth Division in and around Addis Ababa, and the more radical Second Division in the northern city of Asmara -- where the army uprising last month spread armed forces and civil disorder throughout the country, and brought down the Government. Eighty-two year-old Emperor Haile Selassie, challenged by his own people for the first time in his 56-year rule, was forced to reconstitute his cabinet -- but the demand for radical reforms continued unabated, and tension has been increasing again in the past few days.
SYNOPSIS: Angry students demonstrated outside parliament in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Thursday. They were demanding social and political reforms including free education for the poor, land for peasants, and the trial of former Government ministers ousted during last month's army uprising.
Inside parliament, a debate on freedoms of speech and the press had earlier been drowned out by the chanting from outside. The draft bill, which calls for complete freedom of speech and the press without any restraint, was finally referred to Parliament's Legal Committee for study.
The Government was reconstituted following the army uprising, and several ministers sacked. It was the first internal challenge to Emperor Haile Selassie in his fifty-six years of rule. But tension has been increasing further recently, and there is a split in the army between radical factions in the northern city of Asmara and moderate elements in Addis.
The Emperor has promised reforms, but the wide-spread civil unrest in the wake of the armed forces uprising continued unabated during the week. Reports said civil disorder was increasing, and the situation was deteriorating.