University students in Ethiopia have gone on a hunger strike in sympathy with villagers facing starvation in the drought-stricken southern part of the country.
GV Haile Selassie University
CU University plaque
SV Students with placards PULL OUT TO police cordon
GV PAN Students sitting in university grounds
CU Placards "Freedom of Speech and Assembly" PULL OUT TO students
SV Students applaud (3 shots)
GV Student leader talks through loud-speaker, students listening (2 shots)
GV Police arriving in truck and disembarking
GV Students in grounds
Initials BB/2152 BD/TR/PB/2209
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Background: University students in Ethiopia have gone on a hunger strike in sympathy with villagers facing starvation in the drought-stricken southern part of the country.
The students at the Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa, the scene of riots early last month, have demanded that the government declare a national state of emergency to deal with the famine in Southern Ethiopia. The students claim that as many as a quarter of a million people have already died and thousands more are dying or near death from hunger in remote villages. The students called off their classes at the University on Tuesday (2 April). Then they were dispersed by police baton charges, but their meetings in the following two days, although closely watched by police, were relatively peaceful. The students have also called for a halt in arrests of both army officers and civilians campaigning for land reforms.
Also under discussion by the students was the election of a leader of their union, formerly banned but permitted to operate again following the military uprising and general unrest in Ethiopia in February and march. To combat the famine in Ethiopia, the students have called for the rooting out of corruption and the dismantling of Ethiopia's feudal land system in which most of the land is owned by 81-year-old Emperor Haile Selassie, the Moslem church and the aristocracy. The students say poverty is great in many regions because there is little incentive for the tenant farmers to work when they have to hand over a high percentage of their harvests to the landlords.
Nearly two thousand students have been taking part in the meetings and hunger strike since they began on Tuesday (April 2nd).