Angolan government says it will take “serious measures” against anyone seeking power through protests

President Eduardo dos Santos - Strong warning for protesters

LUANDA, February 22, 2011 (AFP) – An anonymous call for a mass protest in Angola on March 6 has drawn a warning from the ruling MPLA party, which threatened to take “serious measures” against anyone seeking power in the streets. Rumours have been circulating on the Internet for several days of a protest against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who has been in power since 1979. 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.

A spokesman for the MPLA, the party that has ruled Angola since independence in 1975, declined to comment on the planned protest, saying there was “nothing formal” about it. “There are a lot of lies and a lot of truths on the Internet. We only comment on serious matters,” MPLA spokesman Rui Falcao Pinto de Andrade told AFP in a telephone interview Tuesday. But the party’s secretary general on Sunday issued a call on state radio “not to confuse what is happening in north Africa with the reality of Angola”. “In these circumstances (a protest), serious measures can be taken, because power cannot be in the streets,” said Juliao Mateus Paulo Dino Matross.

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