ANGOLA.— At least two dozens protestors were arrested after a protest turned violent in Luanda, Angola. The detained demonstrators are reportedly being held incommunicado, their whereabouts are unknown.
The protest was organized by a youth movement, the youths were unaffiliated with any major opposition parties.
Reportedly, the protest ended when the police began beating protestors.
The protesters had gathered in Luanda’s Independence Square to call on President José Eduardo dos Santos to step down after 32 years of rule, news reports said. Police then allegedly began to attack the demonstrators after a group attempted to march to the presidential palace to demand the release of Pandito Nerafa, one of their leaders who had been abducted at gunpoint earlier that day by security forces.
According to bystanders the Angolan security forces also attacked several journalists covering the demonstration.
The journalists attacked were identified as Alexandre Neto, a journalist with the Portuguese radio-service of Voice of America, cameramen Hugo Ernesto and Nicolau Chimbila of Portugal’s state broadcaster RTP, and reporters Coque Mukuta of Radio Despertar and Ana Margoso of Novo Jornal.
Neto told the Committee to Protect Journalists that police and unidentified men in plain clothes pushed him down, and took his bag which held his cell phone, camera, passport, and driver’s license, the items were not returned.
Security agents also attacked Portuguese journalist Antafnio Cascais, as he was leaving his hotel to walk toward the demonstration. Local journalists claim the agents knocked Cascais to the ground, searched his pockets, and confiscated a digital camera and two phones.
CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita made the statement, “We condemn the security forces’ use of violence and intimidation to prevent journalists from covering anti-government protests. The authorities must return all confiscated journalistic material and pay compensation for damaged equipment. They should also hold to account all those responsible for the violence against the media.”
Human Rights Watch claims the attacks on journalists appear to have been an organized attempt to prevent media coverage of the violent crackdown.
The protest was the second time since March that Angolan authorities have used violence to stop journalists from covering public protests calling for democratic reforms.
Source: All Africa