Two years ago, protesters filled the streets of Angola’s Cafunfo village in an effort to make private security company Teleservice aware of human rights abuses. Today, those abuses have escalated and more than 15,000 citizens have recently protested the killings and mutilation of the country’s women, according to Maka Angola.
Since the third period of Angola’s civil war ending in 2002, military presence in the nation had died down. Though on June 15, when protesters took a stand for human and women’s rights, soldiers from Angola’s Armed Force were deployed arresting citizens and raiding homes.
“The women of Cafunfo turned out en masse. Women are very angry, myself included. In the South, when a bull disappears, even the government worries. Here, women are brutally murdered and the police and government don’t even bat an eyelid,” demonstration organizer Paula Muacassenha told Maka Angola.
National police arrested 18 demonstrators including regional head of the Social Renovation Party Marcos Kamone, following the protest, Maka Angola reported. Citizens who were arrested and forced out of their homes, regardless of participation, were also forced to come up with fees to be released.
In addition to innocent bystanders, Maka Angola reported minors being beaten and taken into custody over the weekend.
Similar to Liberia’s influential women’s peace marches led by Leymah Gbowee, demonstrators planned to read a prepared speech at Campo Onze, demanding local authorities to enforce humane treatment of women.
The day before carrying out the demonstration, which was described as peaceful, participants met with administrator Luís Figueiredo Muambongue in the township of Cuango to inform him and other authorities of what was to take place.
“The administrator made no mention of the demonstration. He tried to ignore the subject, though we had informed him about it. Now we are being subjected to this wave of persecution,” Paula Muacassenha continued.
When police fired guns to break up the crowd, youth turned violent by throwing stones which then escalated to the burning of an officer’s motorbike. FAA soldiers who are now in charge of containing further protests have taken advantage of their granted power.
More than any group, women are victims of killings and attacks in areas of Angola. In the last 45 days, two women were murdered and mutilated in Canfufo, Maka Angola reported.