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After protests, Angolan leader holds talks with youths

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President of Angola, Joao Lourenco

Angola’s President Joao Lourenco held talks on Thursday with representatives of various youth organisations in an apparent bid to pacify restive youths after a wave of protests against his government.

Leaders from 17 students and youth groups, including from the largest opposition party UNITA, attended the meeting held at a conference centre in the capital Luanda and broadcast live on state television.

The meeting came after police and soldiers brutally cracked down on a surge of anti-government demonstrations that have rocked Africa’s second largest oil producing nation in recent months.

The UNITA-backed protests in Luanda have been against unemployment, the high cost of living and alleged state corruption, among other reasons.

Lourenco said that while “demonstrating is a right protected by the constitution,” that right is temporarily restricted by the measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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He also said that “demonstrations must not end in violence”.

At least 100 people were arrested in connection with protests held last month.

Seventy-one of them were later handed a one-month jail sentence converted into a fine of $70 for “civil disobedience”. The rest were acquitted.

Lourenco, who took over from longtime leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 2017, told the youth leaders that “I also want a better Angola”.

The protesters have also been demanding a new date for local elections delayed by the pandemic.

Lourenco promised the “elections will come when everything is ready”.

[AFP]

Vanguard News Nigeria

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