Angola: Police stop demonstration for ‘fair, transparent’ electoral law

Young protesters in Luanda complain that the police prevented them from gathering on Monday in front of the parliament. They intended to demand justice and transparency in the discussion of the laws amending the electoral package.

More than 20 young activists said they were not allowed to approach the south gate of the parliament, the main entrance, where they wanted to protest against the electoral law being discussed.

On Monday, contrary to previous days, the national police set up an extensive security cordon around the perimeter of the parliament, including cavalry brigade and plainclothes officers.

Two hundred metres from the main entrance to the parliament’s headquarters in Luanda, the media witnessed the detention of several people and searches and questioning, especially of young people there.

Citizens passing by deplored the arrests of several activists, considering that the police was giving society a “very ugly image”.

In statements to journalists, the young activist Joaquim Manuel condemned the ban of the march of protesters heading to the Angolan parliament, complaining of some petulance on the part of Angolan police officers on the spot.

“The police are once again blocking our march. We intend to reach the southern gate of the parliament so that we can hold our demonstration, which aims to demand that our members of parliament vote for a fair law that will guarantee transparent elections in our country,” he said.

But, he said, the police are here in a petulant manner, and one of the officers even tried to shoot at us, the activist said.

Activist Nelson Adelino Dembo “Gansgta”, who was also prevented from arriving in front of the parliament, described the police pressure and obstruction as a systematic violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.

“We are being stopped at a distance of almost 200 metres, so this is against what is legitimised by the Constitution, there is a systematic violation, imagine if in 300 metres we are already stopped, what does it mean what is going to be approved there,” the Angolan activist said.

Angolan members of parliament on Monday are discussing commissions the draft law amending the Organic Law on General Elections, an initiative of the parliamentary group of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA, in opposition), the draft law amending the Organic Law on General Elections, an initiative of the parliamentary group of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA, in power) and the draft law amending the Official Electoral Registration Law, an initiative of the MPLA.

The discussion of these laws has been the subject of heated debates among the deputies, seeking consensus regarding the general elections scheduled for 2022.

For the activist, the approval of the electoral laws translates into the approval of the future of Angola.

“But a manipulated future, and one that will set up or fit into that framework of the policy of maintaining power, that is the only objective.”

“Because if we can implement the PIIM (Integrated Plan for Intervention in the Municipalities) at the level of the municipalities, why can’t we count the votes at the level of the municipalities?” the activist further questioned.

Angolan police officers remain in large numbers outside the headquarters of the Angolan parliament and on the main access roads and secondary roads surrounding the building.