Angolan police denies militia deployment claims ahead of protests By ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda | Saturday, May 26 2012 at 16:12
Angolan police Friday denied claims by lobbyists that a special force has been deployed in the capital Luanda to crackdown on anti-government protestors.
The demonstrators have been protesting the 32-year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos, who they blamed for rampant corruption, widespread poverty and political repression.
Lobbyists have repeatedly called on the Angolan authorities to end its use of unnecessary force against peaceful anti-government protesters, human rights activists, journalists, and opposition politicians.
The Secretary-General of Angolan opposition party Democratic Bloc (BD), Filomeno Vieira Lopes who was allegedly assaulted by police also condemned increasing brutality on peaceful demonstrators.
“People may not tolerate aggression which is articulated by institutional organs,” Mr Vieira Lopes said.
On Tuesday evening, a group of opposition activists including the country’s famous musician ‘Hexplosivo Mental’ was allegedly attacked and beaten by police during a meeting in Luanda. Some of them were hospitalised following the assault.
On the same day, another popular rap musician Carbono Casimiro’s home reportedly came under attack from unknown gunmen. He is famous for his satirical lyrics, which have rubbed the government the wrong way.
However, Angolan police boss Ambrosio de Lemos denied the allegations saying no parallel force has been deployed to contain social agitation.
“Until now, we have not received demonstrator’s formal complaint and there is no parallel force which has been created to deal with demonstrators,” De Lemos stressed.
“The Angolan Constitution guarantees the right to carry out peaceful demonstrations. It’s time that the authorities show that they are willing to protect this fundamental right.”
Amnesty International has warned that there are fears that violence and intimidation will escalate in the coming weeks as the country prepares for general election in August.
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