Government opponents march in Angola

2011-10-16 10:15

LUANDA, Oct 15, 2011 (AFP) -Hundreds of anti-government and anti-corruption activists prepared to march in the Angolan capital on Saturday despite the release of their leaders on Friday.

The protestors were gathering in front of a cemetery in the centre of Luanda, according to an AFP correspondent.

"We are going to carry on with our fight for freedom in Angola. We will organise other marches, notably on Saturday in favour of more justice and freedom in Angola," said Carbono Casimiro, one of 17 protestors who were released by the Angolan Supreme Court.

Last month a police court had sentenced the youths, mostly students and rappers belonging to a group that calls itself the Young Revolutionaries Movement, to up to three months' imprisonment.

They had protested on Independence Square against the regime of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.

But the Supreme Court overturned the sentence on appeal on Friday.

"I am happy because we were imprisoned unfairly while there wasn't any proof against us," Casimiro told AFP.

"Our freedom was taken away from us and we lost a lot of things. We now have to catch up with the work we missed at our various universities," he said.

The movement will not stop despite the leaders' release and hold marches in January in support of journalist William Tonet and the poor, Casimiro continued.

Tonet was fined 10 million kwanzas ($106,000, 77,000 euro) this week for publishing an article about alleged corruption in high military circles.

Another youth described the dire conditions in prison.

"Prisoners suffer inhuman treatment in this prison," said the youth, only known by his first name Luamba.

"The country's prisons are turned into centres of abuse of convicts or prisoners, instead of centres of reeducation."

The demonstrations started in March with about a dozen people and have refused to go away, growing to a peak of about 300 people this month.

At the end of September police violently broke up a protest against the government of Dos Santos, Africa's second longest leader at 32 years in power.