On Monday this week 17 people, including several journalists (some from the newspaper Jornal Novo), were arrested at the start of a demonstration, heavily monitored by police, in the Angolan capital, Luanda. As former BBC Angolan correspondent Lara Pawson, writes in The Guardian, “… the protest began as an internet campaign two weeks ago when an anonymous group of individuals, announcing ‘a new revolution of the Angolan people,’ set up a website calling for an end to the 32-year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos.”

A ruling party official is quoted as saying “Angola is not Egypt. Angola is not Libya. Angola is not Tunisia.”  To preempt the protests, the ruling MPLA organized countrywide “pro-peace” rallies last Saturday. They claimed half a million people turned up. More objective counts suggest averages of twenty thousand. And as Pawson concludes about the pro-government rallies: “… this was not an authentic outpouring of adoration for the regime. State employees were ordered to attend, and beyond the capital all did not go well.” The government also does not rule out violent repression against protesters.

Though Monday’s protest failed to draw large numbers of people (or got little attention in Western media), Pawson notes a “generation gap” between those organizing protests and the regime’s supporters among the “political class.” One of those arrested Monday was Luaty Beirão, an Angolan rapper also known as Ikonoklasta:

[Ikonoklasta] believes the political parties are out of touch with the majority of Angolan people, and are either too lazy or too old-fashioned to take action for their political beliefs. At a gig on 27 February in Luanda, he called for President Dos Santos to leave power [and he called for the Monday, March 7 protests]. Each time he did, a large audience of mainly young men chanted “Fora!” (“Out!”). To the delight of his fans, he described the regime as “a son of a bitch government” and ended his performance holding up a banner which read: “Ti Zé Tira o Pé: Tô Prazo Expirou Há Bwé!” (Uncle Zé [the president], get out: your time ran out ages ago!). The crowd erupted into wild applause.

Below is the video footage of Ikonoklasta’s brave intervention followed by a translation,  via Mhambi’s blog, of his remarks:

Government motherfucker
I´m a kamikaze
why this has to be like that?
Why speaking about them has to be life threat?

Mr Danilo, if you are here, run and tell daddy (Dos Santos),
tell him please, that we don´t want him anymore here
32 years is to much… a lot!

Until when that shit!? Of intimidatory policy
you say, I´m going to shut up you at home
see right, your brother, your uncle, your father, think right
attention, i do know where you live,
the other gave the opinion of him saying Zé Du must die
is censoring the sound, it´s the opinion of a frustrated
he is frustrated with the situation
Mr Dino Matross, Mr Virgílio De Fontes Pereira, every you, suck!!
Paulo Flores said that “oppressor of the oppressed” get out!! no??
The first Dino Matross is threatening the population
“oppressor of the oppressed” get out!!
Mr Dino Matross, Mr Virgílio De Fontes Pereira Out!!!!
Attention, I want to see on 7th
who is the pure REVU, on 7th
everybody already know
if we live till there, let´s see if I show everything so you can read
calm down, put clear Edu, put it clear:
Independence square 7 this our day, Libya is achieving, Kadafi is going to fall
Zé Dú isn´t going to be anymore a friend, we don´t want more, we don´t want more
Bring only pans and spoons, we don´t want aggression
don´t bring party flags…please
to make noise with vuvuzelas and kitchen things
nobody wants party
Thank you very much
Join to the fight for total independence of Angola from the Dictator Jose Eduardo Dos
Santos and all his comitive !

Translation by comrade Paulo of Galicia

H/T: Nerina Penzhorn.

Further Reading

The culture wars are a distraction

When our political parties only have recourse to the realm of identity and culture, it is a smokescreen for their lack of political legitimacy and programmatic content. It is cynically unpolitical, and it’s all bullshit.