A Chinese-style rally and parade by 20,000 uniformed students in Addis Ababa on Saturday (21 December) marked the official opening of Ethiopia's ambitious new rural development campaign.
LV & CU Brig. Teferi Benti arrives in open landrover flanked by Maj. Mengistu and Michael Imiru
SV & LV Uniformed students wave as the three men pass in landrover (3 shots)
GV PAN FROM Cheering students to three men in landrover (4 shots)
LV Guests seated in stand
SV & CU Head of campaign standing at microphone before seated leaders (2 shots)
SV Officers listen
CU Brig. Teferi at microphone
SV Officials applaud
GV & SV Teferi presents colours
GV PAN Ceremony in progress
Initials BB/0207 PS/MR/BB/0153
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Background: A Chinese-style rally and parade by 20,000 uniformed students in Addis Ababa on Saturday (21 December) marked the official opening of Ethiopia's ambitious new rural development campaign.
The campaign is a key part of the plan announced a day earlier to turn Ethiopia into a socialist state with a one-party system, direct government control over most of the economy and collective farms on government land. The parade was watched by the chairman of Ethiopia's new ruling Military Council, General Teferi Benti, and the 120-member body's two vice-chairmen -- one of whom, Major Mengistu Haile-Mariam, regarded as the driving force behind the socialist blueprint, was making his first public appearance.
The students -- boys and girls clad in new Khaki uniforms with water bottles dangling from shoulder-straps -- marched around the Addis Ababa racecourse on the first day of a self-help campaign that ultimately will involve 60,000 university undergraduates, high school students and teachers. They will be sent into the countryside to teach and help the backward rural population in a massive programme scheduled to last nine months. The campaign combines a literacy drive with teaching programmes on such subjects as improved farming methods and basic health care, but its main aim is to explain the Military Council's goals to the largely agricultural population.
Addressing the students, General Teferi said the project -- officially entitled "Development Through Co-operation, Enlightenment and Work Campaign" -- signalled the start of a "new era of progress and development through co-operation". He held out to the students such examples as Cuba, Tanzania and India, which he said had successfully implemented similar campaigns.
Ethiopia's students have been in the vanguard of demands for a socialist system, and their rally was the highlight of a national holiday that saw main streets and public buildings throughout the country bedecked with flags.