More than a quarter of a million people turned out for a mass rally in Addis Ababa last Thursday (20 December) supporting the establishment of a government commission charged with organising a communist party in Ethiopia.
GV: Mass crowds assembling for political rally in Addis Ababa
SV: Ethiopia leader Lieutenant Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu seated on dais (centre) in Revolution Square
CU AND GV: Local official speaking and crowd listening (2 shots)
SV: Mengistu seated listening
SV AND LV: Speaker finishes Mengistu applauds. (2 shots)
LV: Officials and diplomats applaud
CU AND GV: Mengistu addresses rally in Amharic (2 shots)
CU AND LV: Local officials chant and applaud as Chairman Mengistu salutes the crowd. (2 shots)
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Background: More than a quarter of a million people turned out for a mass rally in Addis Ababa last Thursday (20 December) supporting the establishment of a government commission charged with organising a communist party in Ethiopia. The Commission for Organising the party of the Working People of Ethiopia (COPWE), aims to install the country's leader Lieutenant Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu at the Head of a strong Marxist-Leninist party that enjoys firm unity with the people.
SYNOPSIS: The editorial of the daily "Ethiopian Herald" claimed the masses went to Revolution Square in spontaneous support for COPWE. Two hundred and fifty thousand came to cheer their leader Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu.
Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu assumed power in 1977 after leadership struggles in the ruling revolutionary Armed Forces Co-ordinating Committee, known popularity as the Dergue. The Dergue is assisted in the main by two parties enlisting civilian and military support respectively. In addition there are numerous secessionist and breakaway political movements which to a varying degree work either with or against the Dergue. But is was the establishment of a single united communist party, with Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu as chairman, that speakers at Thursday's rally called for.
Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu underscored the importance of creating such a single communist party. The purpose of COPWE he said, is to evolve such a party that shall identify itself with the toiling people and provide effective revolutionary leadership by becoming part and parcel of the people."
The Ethiopian Herald editorial called for COPWE opponents to be dealt a resolute rebuff. A reference to various anti-government forces engaged in bitter fighting with the Dergue over 3 years. But rallies like this one have been held over Ethiopia without incidence.