Hundreds have taken to the streets of Angola’s capital, Luanda, to protest against police brutality after a doctor died in police custody.
According to the authorities, Silvio Dala, 35, suffered a heart attack after being arrested and detained for driving without a face mask. Scarring to his head was discovered after his body was sent to the morgue, raising questions about his actual cause of death.
During Saturday’s protests, more than 300 doctors wore black t-shirts with slogans such as “we want justice” and “don’t kill us, the people need us.” As they marched through Luada, fake blood-stained medical clothes were hung in front of the doctor’s association.
Many are calling for Interior Minister Eugenio Laborinho to resign as well as immediate police reform. Doctor Rodrigo Joao condemned Dala’s treatment at the hands of the police.
“We need to draw attention to this mistake and correct it so that a citizen will not lose his life next time,” Joao told AFP, he said, slamming the officers’ lack of “humanity.”
Adriano Manuel, the president of the Doctor’s Union, addressed the crowd towards the tail end of the protest, vowing further action.
“We will pursue our mission,” Manuel asserted. “We will bring (the case) to court next week because we have concrete proof that our colleague did not die of a heart attack.”
The Angolan government has initiated mandatory quarantine for anyone entering the country, regardless of citizenship, to fight against the novel coronavirus’s spread.
Since the outbreak, Angola has recorded a total of 3,388 COVID-19 cases and 134 deaths.