Target: President of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos
Goal: Cut down on arbitrary arrests and beatings of protesters
A youth group known as the Angolan Revolutionary Movement recently informed authorities that they were planning a peaceful protest of the current government, in accordance with laws regarding protests. When the protesters gathered they were met with intimidation, arbitrary arrest and heavy beatings, as Angolan police arrested twenty-two protesters and several attendant journalists. This is a gross violation of these peaceful protesters’ human rights, and the government of Angola should take whatever steps are necessary to release the imprisoned individuals and prevent such abuses of power from occurring in the future.
Even though the protest was scheduled to be on the small side, police responded with incredible force, bringing to bear heavy weapons, helicopters, and dogs. The arrested protesters and journalists reported being beaten, stepped on, and having their cameras taken by high-ranking police officers. Unfortunately, the police’s attempts to influence and intimidate the media have been largely successful: most news channels in Angola are reporting protests as “attempts to wage war,” despite the lack of veracity of such claims, so as to scare the war-weary populace into supporting the police. So far at least eight of the arrested youths remain in custody without charges.
Protest is an essential way for citizens to demonstrate their unhappiness with the current regime and criticize their governments, and the use of such harsh measures to quell dissent is antithetical to democracy. The government of Angola should take immediate action to have the current prisoners released, and should amend the Angolan police code so that these abuses do not recur.
Dear President dos Santos,
A peaceful protest of the current administration by a youth group calling themselves the Angolan Revolutionary Movement was recently brought to a violent end when police, armed with attack dogs, heavy weapons and even helicopters, attacked and detained the protesters and assorted journalists for no apparent reason. They were beaten severely following their arrests, and at least eight of those apprehended remain in police custody.
Abuses like this are endemic to the way that the Angolan police treat civil protesters, even non-violent ones. Furthermore, the suppression of dissent in a violent manner is utterly anathema to a democratic society. As such, it is critical that the Angolan government take immediate measures to see those who have been arrested are released from prison as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Ricardo Stuckert via Wikimedia Commons