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Police arrest 100 over Angola anti-government demos

A Police officer prepares to fire teargas towards protesters during a anti-government demonstration in Luanda. Osvaldo Silva - AFP

At least 100 people were held following violent weekend anti-government protests in the Angolan capital Luanda, a senior government official announced Sunday.

Anti-riot police fired teargas and beat protesters to break up the demonstrations that attracted around 2,000 people.

Protesters set up barricades along the roads using skips, boulders, tree trunks and burning tyres.

Others set a national flag ablaze, an AFP photographer saw.

But dozens of protesters, including journalists covering the demonstrations, were arrested.

The interior ministry secretary Salvador Rodrigues, said on state television that 103 people, including politicians from the largest opposition UNITA party, were in detention.

They were due to appear in court on Monday.

Rodrigues said six police officers were injured during the protests.

He also said a police motorcycle, a car, an ambulance and fire engine were damaged or burnt during the protests that occurred in a working class neighbourhood on the outskirts of the oceanside capital Luanda.

The demonstrations were to demand a new date for local government elections that were due this year, but have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Civil society groups called the protests which were also staged to demand jobs and better living conditions

In a statement on Sunday, the main opposition UNITA accused police of using excessive force to quell the protests and demanded the “unconditional release” of all the arrested people.

UNITA “denounces and condemns the arrest and beating of demonstrators by the national police, which caused chaos on the street…, which was avoidable had the march processed without police brutality”.

Saturday’s protests were the latest show of disenchantment towards the government by Angolans in recent months.

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