At least 24 people were arrested over the weekend for trying to stage a rally calling for more democracy and the resignation of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.
The rally, organized on Saturday in Luanda by a youth movement, gathered about 200 at Independence Square, in Luanda when the police stepped in and made the arrests. Protesters, journalists and several police officers were injured.
Portuguese news agency Lusa cited one of the protest organizers who had been arrested as saying the police “acted with brutality” during an event authorized by the local government.
According to a police statement, “Against police guidance, some individuals forced the security cordon in an anarchical way, insulting passers-by and police officers and saying they wanted to the head to the palace,” the Angolan state news agency Angop reported.
President dos Santos in power since 1980, has been accused of avoiding public scrutiny and doing too little to fight corruption and of mismanaging the country’s oil revenues.
An estimated two-thirds of Angola’s 16.5 million people live on less than $2 per day in a country which is Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria.
President Dos Santos, 67, has ruled the African country for 30 years and is the ruling MPLA party’s 2012 presidential candidate. He is the continent’s second-longest serving leader after Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
In 2010, Dos Santos signed into law a new constitutional provision allowing him to extend his three-decade-long rule. The MPLA is the favorite party to win the general election scheduled for 2012,
A former Portuguese colony, Angola (population 18, 498,000) gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
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