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Ethiopia Commemorates The Downfall of Dergue Regime (Derg Downfall Day)

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Ethiopia Dergue Regime Overthrow: May 28

Dergue Regime Overthrow is a public holiday in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia commemorates the end of Derg regime in 1991, a military junta which ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987. The holiday is officially called as Derg Downfall Day and is celebrated yearly in the country every 28th of May.

History of Ethiopia Dergue Regime Overthrow

Derg (Dergue) came to power after ousting the former Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 Haile Selassie I. The Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army (Derg) was formed to address the rampant corruption in the military during that time. The Derg has successfully obtained clearance from the former emperor to arrest individuals, especially government officials and military officers who were believed to have participated in the said corruption. Mengistu Haile Mariam headed the Derg during this period. Little did the emperor know that these were the start of a process to disintegrate the monarchy so that in September 12, 1974, the emperor found himself imprisoned by the Derg. The monarchy was formally dissolved in May of 1975. A few months later, Emperor Haile Selassie died.

According to sources, Derg imprisoned and executed thousands of its political opponents who were perceived to have participated in an attempt to overthrow the military junta from the period 1975 to 1987.

During Mengistu’s leadership, a new constitution was instituted and Ethiopia’s name was changed to People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE). His leadership was marred by violence and execution of key officials who formed part of the monarchical government under Emperor Haile Selassie.

Mengistu had to face Ethiopian Red Terror which took place from 1977 to 1978 and the Ethiopian Civil War lasting from 1974 to 1991. The latter, with the help of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), an integrated alliance of revolutionary groups in the country during the civil war, successfully brought Derg to its downfall in 1991.

Ethiopia Dergue Regime Overthrow: Traditions, Customs and Activities

During the holiday, politicians visit war memorials and deliver speeches to honor the lives of the people who perished in the Ethiopian civil war and the Red Terror. The holiday is one of the most important holiday in Ethiopia and is considered a work-free day.

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