Four thousand Angolan war veterans took to the streets of the city of the south-eastern city of Menongue, Kuando-Kubango province, on Saturday, March 31, in protest at delays in the payment of their pensions.
The demonstrators eventually received the money owed to them, but only after two were injured in a confrontation with police and firemen.
According to Maka Angola's sources in the city, the veterans of the former liberation army and government defense forces, FAPLA (People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola), marched down Rua 1º de Maio to the local branch of the Banco de Poupança e Crédito in order to demand their pension arrears. The marchers gave no prior notice to the local authorities.
The authorities summoned the police who failed to stop the demonstration, and in turn called on the fire brigade to use water to disperse the protesters as they attempted to break into the bank.
Local eyewitnesses say the demonstration quickly took on an anti-government character with former soldiers chanting "down with the MPLA," "down with the thieves" and "down with the bandits." In an attempt to calm the situation, the authorities ordered the bank to be opened and the payments to be processed the same day.
Two demonstrators were taken to hospital with injuries sustained during their confrontation with police and firemen at the door of the bank. Maka Angola's sources report that no one was detained.