Increasing protests in Angola after Northern African uprisings for democracy


Opposition in Angola has tried to follow the path of their counterparts of North Africa, which has been dismissed by the ruling party. Their try to bring the enthousiams of their fellows of Egypt, Tunisia and Lybia has vanished after their call for protests in its capital, Luanda has failed.  Through social networks, by mouth and posters, a protest march had been organized on the 7th March, by the activists pro-democracy.

Nevertheless, the worry surrounding the successor of president José Eduardo dos Santos remains. After 32 years holding the power, opposition believes it’s now the moment for change. During the protesting march of March the 7th, a few hundred pro-democracy demonstrators defied heavy police presence and called for an end to the 31-year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos at a long-planned manifestation in central Luanda.

As a response, the government has not only organized large pro-regime demontration, but also journalist arrestations and medias harassment. During the demontration of the pro-democracy activists, about 20 arrestations took place, including several journalist aiming at covering the protests in Luanda’s Independence Square. Such protests have always been forbidden by president dos Santos.

Some changes are taking place though. Indeed, even with harrasment, medias are reporting the events strongly thank to their anticipation in the past few weeks. Reporters Sans Frontières, has gather information about Angola’s current situation, and say it is “shocked by the growing problems that Angola’s journalists are experiencing and the mistrust and hostility that the authorities are showing towards some media.” The non profit organization has also discovered that only during the last two weeks, one reporter has been sentenced to a year in prison and several media and journalists have been threatened, or censured.

This tendency of mistruss regards media is not something new, but the increading power of the opposition party, pro-democracy, and more recently after the events in Northern Africa, the fear of uprisings are much more threatening for the dictatorship in place.

“It is a disgrace for Angola that a journalist has been given a jail sentence for an alleged case of defamation that has not been proved,” RSF said.  Meanwhile, most Angolan media have been intimidated to follow the ruling opposition party’s propaganda and write about large pro-MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertaçao de Angola) manifestations during the carnival.

Most observers expect the small Angolan protest movement to have died as fast as it was born. Massive state propaganda, fear and massive use of force to stop possible protests seem to rule out further North Africa-style protests in Angola. But it does not stop the increasing discontent with the government.

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