A planned coup to overthrow Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, in December 1960 ended in disaster for the plotters when they were all rounded up before a blow was struck. One of the ringleaders, General Menguesta Neway, of the imperial bodyguard, was hanged in the main market in Addis Ababa in the early hours of Friday, March 31st, 1961, before a huge crowd even though it was still dark. Two fellow-conspirators were jailed for 10 years and 15 years.

A later military coup, in 1974, was successful, and the emperor, who had ruled since 1916 apart from six years when the Italians occupied his country, was deposed. The country has been in constant turmoil ever since.