Angolans to campaign for right to protest
Luanda - An Angolan human rights group said on Monday it is launching a campaign for the right to protest amid a state crackdown on demonstrations against long-ruling President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
"This campaign will be launched on Thursday with a debate on the legal framework for demonstrations," Jose Patrocinio, Omunga co-ordinator, said.
"We have invited the governor of the [Benguela] province but also members of the opposition and civil society."
Patrocinio cited recent violent break-ups of demonstrations in Benguela, the capital Luanda and the oil-rich Cabinda enclave.
"These examples show that the freedom to demonstrate does not exist in Angola," he said.
32 years in power
The Benguela-based group also plan to hand a petition to the Supreme Court to stop lower courts from acting against jailed demonstrators.
The jailing and fining of the three protesters on March 16, whose sentence is being appealed in the Supreme Court, came after police violently broke up a demonstration on March 10 by youths in the capital Luanda and the southern city of Benguela.
The protests called for Dos Santos to step down after 32 years in power and denounced the appointment of a ruling party member as the head of the national electoral commission.
A demonstration scheduled for March 17 was also banned by the provincial government.
Angola is due to hold elections later this year, only the third since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975.