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VOA Deplores Beating of Journalist in Angola

VOA is criticizing the beating in Angola of one of its journalists, who was attacked while trying to cover a pro-democracy rally in the capital last Saturday.

A VOA statement Wednesday says Alexandre Neto, a local reporter in Luanda, was assaulted and had some of his equipment taken by what appeared to be plainclothes officers. It says other journalists were jostled and blocked from taking photographs of the demonstration.

Neto was able to retain some of the photos he took, which showed at least one protester who suffered a head injury during a confrontation with police.

During the rally, demonstrators tried to march toward the Angolan presidential palace. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ruled the southern African country since 1979.

VOA officials are urging Angolan authorities to respect the rights of journalists, and to ensure they are not subjected to attack while performing their duties.

The incident is one of several cases of VOA reporters being harassed in Angola. Jose Manuel, who reports for VOA from the Cabinda region, was threatened with a lawsuit for covering a clash between police and students.

A reporter in Namibe, Armando Chicoca, was jailed for 30 days after he reported on the case of a housekeeper who said she was sexually harassed by a provincial chief justice. Chicoca is appealing his conviction on libel charges.