Thousands of Ethiopians on Friday (2 March) celebrated the eighty-third anniversary of the Battle of Adowa with parades and speeches.
SV INTERIOR: Ethiopian Head of State Lieutenant Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu laying wreath at Menelik mounted PAN UP TO monument PAN DOWN TO wreath and monument with Mengistu saluting. (3 shots)
SV: guards presenting arms.
SV: Mengistu walking with other officers as crowd applauds. (2 shots)
SCU: Mengistu seated PULL OUT TO Swapo leader Sam Nujoma seated.
SCU: Mengistu speaking in Amharic and crowd applauds. (3 shots)
CU: Nujoma seated
SCU PULL OUT TO GV PAN: statue on monument, crowd and soldiers marching.
GV: parade in progress with people on horses and camels, musicians and others walking. (3 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Thousands of Ethiopians on Friday (2 March) celebrated the eighty-third anniversary of the Battle of Adowa with parades and speeches.
SYNOPSIS: The Ethiopians are very proud of their victory over Italian colonising forces at Adowa in 1896 - they claim this was the first battle in which Africans triumphed over white colonialists. The setting for the speeches was Menelik Square, named after Emperor Menelik who ruled Ethiopia at the time of the victory. His statue now dominates the Square. Head of State, Lieutenant Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu, laid a wreath in his memory.
With Colonel Mengistu were members of the Provisional military administrative Council (PMAC), the Council of Ministers, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. The guest of honour was the leader of one faction of the South-West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), Mr Sam Nujoma.
In a speech, Mr. Nujoma had said that, within African liberation movements, Ethiopia was regarded as a shining star protecting Africa from further invasion by imperialist forces.
Colonel Mengistu called on his people to keep up their struggle, to deal a crushing blow to their enemies, and to build a strong and prosperous country. The victory at Adowa, he said, was still an inspiration to countries struggling to liberate themselves. The imperialists, he added, were raining bombs on the independent countries in Southern Africa who support the cause of freedom fighters.
Referring to the situation in South-east Asia, Colonel Mengistu condemned the invasion of Vietnam by what he called the "reactionary" Chinese leadership. He said that struggles and unrest nearer to Ethiopia were not over. In particular, he said, the Red Sea has served for a route for successive waves of aggression. He said it was becoming even more important as a waterway for strategic and military reasons.
The parade represented all aspects of Ethiopian life. The Civilian and military parades had artistic groups representing culture, sports and youth associations. Veteran fighters, army and revolution defence squad members, trade unionists and the all-Ethiopia parents Association all contributed to the colour of the parade.