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Journalists beaten, equipment seized

(MISA/IFEX) - On 3 September 2011, four Angolan and foreign journalists were severely beaten and their working material seized by police while covering a major anti-government demonstration in the Angolan capital of Luanda.

Alexandre Solombe, a national correspondent for the Voice of America (VOA), said he was beaten and his equipment and vehicle seized. He described the security forces as being "highly aggressive against the youth, arresting and taking away many of them."

Two reporters from the Portuguese RTP were also assaulted and their camera damaged during the events, the station said. Antonio Cascais, also a Portuguese journalist with the German radio Deutsche Welle, said he was beaten and assaulted after arriving at the demonstration site, and his material had not been returned.

As of 5 September, the police had not returned Cascais and Solombe's working equipment.

Special forces from the Angolan police abruptly arrived on the scene when the demonstrators were reportedly heading to the presidential palace to demand the release of one of the organizers of the demonstration.

It was organized by a youth organization made up of university students and artists to protest against poverty, high university tuition and lack of democracy in the country.

More than 40 demonstrators were reportedly arrested and remained behind bars as of 7 September.

The government had authorized the demonstration but specified that it was not permitted to go beyond the authorized area. This was the first major anti-government demonstrations since young people attempted to march in Luanda earlier in March 2011.

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