ETHIOPIAN RADIO REPORTS HALF MILLION AT
ANTI-US, UK RALLY
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom ; 15-May-2000 12:00:00 am
"More than half a million" residents of Addis Ababa rallied on the city's
Meskel Square on Monday to demonstrate against attempts by the United States and United
Kingdom to press for UN sanctions on Ethiopia, Ethiopian radio reported.
The UN Security Council, which passed a resolution on Saturday urging both Ethiopia and
Eritrea to stop fighting, said that it would meet again within 72 hours, the radio
The demonstrators sang traditional war songs in various languages and carried placards
calling on the USA and UK to stop their "double standards", the radio said. The
demonstrators voiced their "support for our government's commitment to defend the
motherland", and said they did not want to be "equated with the rogue state of
"A significant portion of the demonstrators later marched to the American and
British embassies, chanting slogans that urged both countries to stop adopting positions
that were against the interests of Ethiopia," the radio said.
Source: Addis Ababa Radio Ethiopia external service, in English, 15 May 00 ]
Agence France Presse Intl. (AFM) ;
15-May-2000 12:00:00 am
ATTENTION - RECASTS, ADDS Ethiopian statements /// Hundreds of thousands of
demonstrators turned out in the Ethiopian capital Monday chanting anti-American and
anti-British slogans in protest at Western efforts to impose sanctions on Ethiopia and
Eritrea for reviving their bloody border war.
"We hate these two countries," shouted Mekonnen Yibrah, a 35-year-old
demonstrator in Addis Ababa's Meskal square, where protesting youths pelted Western
journalists with stones and sticks.
These sanctions should have been imposed a year or two ago, when Eritrea invaded our
territory. Now, they are doing it as the Eritrean government is weakened, because our
forces are progressing," he said.
"The United States and Great Britain want our death."
The UN Security Council, spurred on by Washington and London, gave Ethiopa and Eritrea
until Monday to halt the trench warfare along their disputed border - a conflict UN
diplomats have called the most senseless and deadly in Africa.
Both sides claim to have killed tens of thousands of enemey fighters since the combat
resumed Friday following a three-month lull and a breakdown of UN-sponsored peace efforts.
UN members, angered that the two nations continue spending hundreds of millions of
dollars on the war effort while seeking international aid to counter the effects of
drought and famine, have indicated they could slap an arms embargo and other sanctions on
Responding to a television appeal by authorities for the public to "express their
fury in the face of this unjust warning," protestors flocked to the British and US
embassies Monday, with some youths pelting the British mission and passing cars with
stones before being pushed back by riot police.
Other protestors, some bearing spears and traditional warrior face paints, burned a US
flag and carried posters reading: "UN, shut up!" and "USA, GB, stop your
double standards policy."
Both Ethiopia and Eritrea rejected the UN ultimatum, due to be discussed at a meeting
later Monday in New York of the UN Security Council.
Ethiopia claimed on Monday to have achieved "total victory" on one of the
three fronts in the war, while denying as "ridiculous" Eritrean claims to have
caused more than 25,000 casualties in the Ethiopian ranks.
Ethiopia for its part said it had captured "25 strategic positions" along the
mountainous border and desroyed eight divisions of the Eritrean army.
Yemane Kidane, a senior foreign ministry official, specifically denied Eritrean claims
the Ethiopian army was launching suicidal "human wave attacks" on Eritrean
"Human wave attacks assumes frontal attacks, which is a lie," he said.
"On day one, our forces outflanked the Eritrean forces from left and right of the
trenches. There were no frontal attacks." he said.
"On day two, we attacked from behind after encircling the trenches, which resulted
in total victory," he said.
The border war, which first erupted two years ago, flared following the failure of
peace talks sponsored by the Organization of African Unity and a fruitless mission to the
region last week by senior UN diplomats.
Both sides blamed the other for the negotiating breakdown.
Ethiopia's war strategy
Ethiopia is fighting to regain captured territories - but would also like to see a
change of government in Eritrea.