Angolan President Joao Lourenco reassured voters that elections scheduled for August will be safe, amid growing political unrest in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.
The upcoming polls will take place in an environment of “full security for voters and election observers,” Lourenco said. “Our police forces are up to the challenge and will guarantee order and security for citizens, institutions and property.”
The president’s statement comes after taxi drivers blocked major intersections in Luanda on Monday to initially protest against Covid-19 restrictions but soon spread to include political grievances.
Video footage of the demonstrations showed hundreds of people walking along a main street in the capital city alongside a burning vehicle and 17 people were detained because of damage to property, including a ruling party building.
Lourenco is seeking re-election in the August polls in a country where poverty is rife, despite Angola’s oil and diamond riches.
Angola’s three main opposition parties last year formed a coalition to field a single presidential candidate in the hope of unseating the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, which has been in power since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.