Disaffected Angolans Prepare for Fresh Protest Over the Economy

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Angolans are set to protest in the capital on Saturday to show their frustration about deteriorating living standards and unemployment in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

The demonstration is expected to be closely monitored by police after a similar event on Nov. 11, mainly by youths. That march, which coincided with the marking of 45 years of independence from former colonial ruler Portugal, led to clashes with heavily armed security personnel and at least one person being killed.

The scenes were reminiscent of weeks of violent protests in Nigeria against police brutality that left dozens of people dead or injured.

Angola’s oil-dependent economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent plunge in crude prices. Gross domestic product has shrunk for the past five years and is expected to remainstagnant this year. The country’s unemployment rate stood at almost 33% in the second quarter, while inflation accelerated to 24% in October, the highest since January 2018.

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President Joao Lourenco has taken steps torevive the economy and stamp outcorruption after succeeding long-time ruler, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, but his government’s efforts have been stymied by the virus and little has filtered down to the people. The World Bank estimates that about a third of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

“We are sick and tired of not being heard,” protest organizer Laura Macedo said in phone interview. “All we want is a more serious, good and just governance for for all, without exception. Many people “wake up in the morning and don’t know what they’re going to eat next,” she said.

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