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Activists protest on Saturday against lack of water and food baskets

Activists and members of Angolan civil society have scheduled a protest march for Saturday in Luanda against the "weak programme" of distribution of drinking water, food baskets and police action during the covid-19 period, they announced this Thursday.

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According to Solomão Mpanzu, member of the coordination of the march, the so-called "March against the Government of Angola in time of covid-19" will also take place in the provinces of Benguela and Uíge.

According to the activist, during the state of emergency in the country, between 27 March and 25 May, the Angolan authorities "had a negative action, particularly in the distribution of water and food baskets to the most vulnerable populations.

"So let's protest against the action of the Ministry of Energy and Water, which was totally negative, which is not yet fulfilling its promise to provide water to the entire population in need during this period," he said.

The lack of water in the neighbourhoods, the activist notes, "conditions the frequent washing of hands as a measure to combat covid-19".

Angola, which has been experiencing a public calamity since 26 May, has 291 cases of covid-19, of which 179 were active, 97 recovered and 15 died.

The "weak programme" of distribution of basic food baskets to the most needy populations is also one of the mottoes of the demonstration, which in Luanda will begin at 12 noon, in front of the Santa Ana cemetery and should take place until Largo das Heroínas.

For Solomão Mpanzu, the Ministry of Social Action, Family and Women's Promotion, "responsible for the distribution of basic food baskets, failed to reach all the populations in need".

"Its programme to provide basic necessities to people in quarantine has failed," he argued, adding that the protest will also be against police action during the covid-19 period.

The lack of salaries "for four months" of private school teachers and the approval of the presidential decree to charge fees and emoluments in public higher education are further reasons for the protest.

According to the activist, the route and biosecurity measures for march participants were defined on Wednesday during a meeting the organization held with the Luanda provincial command of the National Police.

"The demonstrators will be accompanied by a police contingent, they must wear masks and be guided by social distance of two meters along the way," he said.