A video circulating on social media showing Angolan police attacking disabled protesters in wheelchairs has sparked outrage.
In an attempt to draw the attention of the authorities to their plight last Saturday in the capital Luanda, members of the National Association of Disabled People of Angola were met by uniformed policemen who physically engaged some of them in a fight.
The video, first posted by Human Rights Watch researcher Zenaida Machado, showed one protester fall off his wheelchair during the struggle that drew the attention of others, compelling the policemen to leave the scene.
Watch: Angola Police attack people with disabilities who were protesting for right to have public infrastructure adapted to their condition. pic.twitter.com/UgtFL7nI5V— Zenaida Machado (@zenaidamz) April 23, 2017
They beat those who refused to leave. Eventually they allowed the protest to proceed, but only under the close watch of police officers with dogs.
The activists were reportedly heading towards a meeting point to protest the lack of accessible infrastructure and equal opportunities in education and employment for persons with disability.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday that the protesters were blocked by the police in a move to disperse them from holding an unauthorized protest.
“They beat those who refused to leave. Eventually they allowed the protest to proceed, but only under the close watch of police officers with dogs,” the rights group explained.
It called on the Angolan government to respect its obligations as a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The circulating video attracted a lot of reaction against the Angolan police and government.
Angola police using dogs (again) to stop a peaceful march of people with disability. Heavily armed police against people in wheelchairs. pic.twitter.com/Q8gH2H8moR— Zenaida Machado (@zenaidamz) April 22, 2017