Politics | Human rights | Media
Protest concerns spark Angola arrest wave
On Saturday, some 500,000 Angolans demonstrated their support for government in rallies al over the country, according to state radio. Independent sources put the number at around 20,000 - but hard to determine, as Saturday also was one of the main days during the Angolan carnival, which sees hundreds of thousands celebrating in the streets.
According to the media watchdog group, "this tendency has been increasing of late as the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) prepares its upcoming congress and the government is clearly concerned about the possibility that the protests rocking the Arab world could spread to Angola."
Among the many press freedom violations registered by RSF in Angola, the arrest of four journalists employed by the weekly 'Jornal Novo' stand out. The four were arrested while covering Luanda's Independence Square protests and were held for several hours by the police. "All were treated roughly" and one of the journalists was forced to show all the messages in her mobile phone, according to RSF.
"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 in a statement today. "And we are disturbed that the authorities are controlling freedom of expression so closely and sometimes try to gag media by harassing journalists," the group added.
Meanwhile, most Angolan media have been intimidated to follow the ruling MPLA's propaganda and write about large pro-MPLA manifestations during the ongoing carnival.
Most observers expect the small Angolan protest movement to have died as fast as it was born. Massive state propaganda, widespread 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 widening discontent with the MPLA government.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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