Demonstrators Attacked and Imprisoned in Angola | Freedom House

Demonstrators Attacked and Imprisoned in Angola

Nearly 30 Angolans were arrested, imprisoned and are being held incommunicado following a September 3 demonstration of more than 200 people calling on President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to resign.  Organizers mobilized participants beforehand by sharing a “call to action” video on YouTube.  A number of journalists, including local Voice of America (VOA) reporter Alexander Neto were beaten in an attempt to prevent media coverage of the demonstration, along with citizens. Demonstrators allege police brutality, yet police blame demonstrators for the violence. President Dos Santos’ party, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola - Labour Party (MPLA), is expected to win general elections next year.

Despite a 2010 constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and media freedoms, Angolan authorities have regularly restricted the rights of civilians. Authorities have violently clashed with citizens at three pro-democracy rallies this year—the first rally in March 2011 was broken up by police. A group of Angolan civic leaders and journalists was deported earlier this month after attempting to travel to Angola to attend the Southern Africa Civil Society Forum (SCAF), which Angola assumed the chairmanship of.  Earlier this month, radio journalist Adão Tiago was arrested and imprisoned after reporting on instances of mass fainting in Angola. 

Freedom House condemns the brutal attacks on demonstrators by police, and calls for the release of those held incommunicado. The violent retaliation against activists and journalists are a violation of Angola’s constitution and an indication of the growing threat to freedom of speech, expression and press.
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