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Angola arrests five over support for rapper

Angolan police have arrested at least five people during a protest in support of a rapper critical of the government, a friend of the artist said Monday.

Police officers with dogs on Sunday dispersed a spontaneous protest of around 100 young people who had marched to a government building in the capital Luanda’s southern Viana suburb.

A few people were arrested when the group protested the disappearance of 5,000 out of the 20,000 copies of Brigadeiro 10 Pacote’s new album which were to be sold at a launch on Sunday, according to his friend Augusto Dos Santos.

“We just wanted the return of the stolen CDs of our colleague and artist Brigadeiro 10 Pacote,” Dos Santos told AFP.

“We also demand the unconditional release of the rapper’s fans who the police arrested for no apparent reason.”

Brigadeiro 10 Pacote was supposed to launch his new album, called “Ditatura de Pedra” (Dictatorship of Stone), on Sunday at Radio Despertar, a private radio station with links to the main opposition party Unita.

The album calls on Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979 and is Africa’s second longest-standing leader, to step down.

The artist sings “32 years are too much” and denounces corruption, injustice, the lack of freedom and democracy, and dire poverty.

Anti-government protests in the oil-rich country started in March, growing steadily from small numbers to a crowd of 700 on Saturday, forcing the authorities to beef up security.

A court on Friday released 17 protesters arrested in September for lack of evidence.