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Lusa - Business News - Angola: Government denies deaths in demonstration that resulted in 103 arrest

Luanda, Oct.25,2020(Lusa)- Saturday's demonstration in Luanda resulted in the arrest of 103 people, including leaders of the UNITA opposition party, the secretary of state of the interior, Salvador Rodrigues, said, who denied any deaths at the event.

The Angolan leader, who was speaking on Angolan Public Television (TPA) about the demonstration held on Saturday, organised by civil society activists, with support from the largest Angolan opposition party, UNITA, said that 90 men and 13 women were arrested and six police officers were injured.

"Unfortunately, there are leaders of political parties [...] arrested who were in the demonstration," the Angolan leader said, adding that they were linked to UNITA (Union for the Total Independence of Angola).

According to Rodrigues, UNITA is the country's second political force, has its own space, in parliament, and has total freedom to talk, to present the issues to the authorities.

"We do not understand how party leaders get involved in a demonstration that ends in riot and defiance of authority, it does not seem to me that such behaviour is orderly," he said.

Rodrigues said that the authorities still do not know what motivated these people, which could be clarified on Monday when they are submitted to summary judgment.

"Tomorrow before the court to which they will be submitted we will have more details to know what motivated them if it is only disobedience or if it is only contempt of the authorities," he stressed.

Rodrigues said that there was arson, that public force resources were burnt, underlining that the force of order was there to enforce the decree.

On Friday the Angolan government issued new measures to combat and prevent Covid-19, in a decree on the state of public calamity, which amongst several restrictions, prohibited street gatherings of over five people.

According to the Angolan government, forces of order were received with violence, stone-throwing, burning tyres on the road, while a public force motorbike, a fire truck, an ambulance that was left with broken glass and a car from the traffic unit were burned.

Rodrigues said that the detainees will be present in court because there was disobedience, arson and disorder.

On Friday, the police received assurances from the demonstration organisers that it would not take place, in respect to the presidential decree, Rodrigues said, calling on the associations and political parties to join the state bodies that have the mission of public security, to coordinate the actions they have to carry out.

"Today our appeal is that we all unite in the fight against this virus, which takes human lives every day, that gatherings do not take place," he said.

Rodrigues lamented the behaviour of the demonstrators, who were violent against the public force, which is not normal.

Among those arrested were six journalists, three of whom have already been released.

Hours earlier, activist Dito Dali, one of the participants in Saturday's demonstration in Luanda, which was violently repressed by the police, told Lusa that there were more than a hundred people arrested and one person is said to have died during the protest.

Some journalists were assaulted and forced to erase the images relating to the coverage of the demonstration.

Two non-governmental organisations - UFOLO and Friends of Angola - condemned the violence against the demonstrators and demanded the release of the journalists.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-10-27 09:19:00


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