Thousands of UNITA supporters marched through Luanda on Saturday, June 3, calling for fair and free elections. According to media reports, around 4000 people participated in the event that was monitored by a heavy police presence. Additional demonstrations may occur in the months leading up to the presidential election.
Protests are rarely allowed in Angola. UNITA leaders are calling for the government not to hire the same companies that were contracted in the 2008 and 2012 elections to count votes. The opposition group claims that the companies manipulated the previous elections.
Presidential elections are scheduled to be held on August 23 to choose a successor to President Eduardo Dos Santos, who has said he plans to step aside after ruling for 38 years. His political party, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), has ruled the country since its independence from Portugal in 1975. Dos Santos has regularly been accused of repressing any opposition to his rule. About 50 protesters attended an unauthorized demonstration in Luanda on April 24 calling for fair elections; police arrested seven people, who were each jailed for 45 days.
Individuals present in Angola are advised to monitor local news and to stay away from public gatherings, as violence may flare up without warning.
On a more general note, Western authorities generally advise against travel to Cabinda province as well as nonessential travel to Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces (as well as the city of Cabinda). Travel should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place. Due to the threat of kidnapping, those present in Angola are advised to keep a low profile and to remain alert for suspicious behavior and signs of surveillance. If you notice something suspicious, move immediately to safety and report the incident or situation.
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