LUANDA — The ruling party in Angola is to organise this weekend a march in support of the regime of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, shortly before a planned demonstration by his opponents, the state media said Thursday.
The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) aims to organise a “grand patriotic march for peace” on Saturday in the capital to condemn “the wave of disinformation launched on Luanda,” according to the daily Jornal de Angola.
Provincial committees of the MPLA will stage simultaneous rallies of support from the president in several cities, among them Malange, to the east of Luanda, Uige on the north and Huila in the south, according to the Angolan national radio (RNA).
These demonstrations are designed to counter a call for marches against the regime during the night of March 6 to 7, which has been circulating on the Internet, drawing inspiration from the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
The chief opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), has said it does not want to take part in any demonstration but backs the movement.
“We encourage and we back all efforts of democratic struggle which remain within the boundaries of the constitution but we shall not be present at this demonstration because we do not know who is organising it,” UNITA member of parliament Alcides Sakala told AFP.
At a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the national police at the start of the week Interior Minister Sebastiao Martins insisted that the police would crack down severely if events got out of control.
“We shall not tolerate any attempt to prejudice public order and security in any way at all on the national territory,” he told state media.
According to a Facebook page called “The Angolan People’s Revolution”, the protest will take place at midnight on March 6 (2300 GMT) at Independence Square in the capital city, Luanda, and throughout the country.
Under the pseudonym Agostinho Jonas Roberto dos Santos — the first names of the leaders of Angola’s three independence movements and the surname of the current president — the organiser called on Angolans to “march with posters demanding the departure of Ze Du (Dos Santos’ nickname), his ministers and his corrupt friends.”
The call has been picked up by several Internet sites, but no opposition or civil society leaders have publicly endorsed the plan, and the Facebook page currently has just 100 members.
Angolan ruling party calls for march to back president