LUANDA (Reuters) – Angolan police clashed with more than 50 anti-government protesters on Saturday in the capital Luanda and detained several of them, including activist Rafael Marques de Morais.
The protesters were demanding the release of 15 activists accused of planning to disrupt public order and security and were chanting “Liberation now! We want our 15! We want our 15!”.
Marques de Morais says in his 2012 book “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola” that Angolan generals were responsible for more than 100 cases of killings and torture of civilians and workers at diamond mines that they own.
The generals deny those allegations and brought defamation charges against Marques de Morais in Portugal, where the book was published, but the case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Armed police used batons to disperse the crowd on Saturday and kept Marques de Morais inside a police car for about 45 minutes. Other protesters were still in detention, he said.
“I don’t know what would happen to those who are still arrested,” he told Reuters. “At least two people were injured including the mother of one the activists in prison.”
President Eduardo Dos Santo’s 37-year rule over the southern African nation, the continent’s second-biggest oil producer, is under pressure as the economy reels from tumbling crude prices.
Arlete Ganga, 31, one of the protesters, said: “They tried to silence a group of young activists, who see the country in a totally different perspective and are fighting for change.”