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Ahead of the planned livestream of a concert this evening in Luanda by Luaty Beirão – also known as Ikonoklasta – and MCK, two well-known rappers and critics of the Angolan government, Tjiurimo Hengari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa said:

“Angolan authorities must ensure that the rappers’ concert takes place without any further interference by the police, who blocked it over the weekend.”

“The unexplained police intervention has potentially far-reaching consequences for freedom of assembly and artistic expression in the country, and smacks of state censorship of Luaty Beirão and MCK for their criticism of Angola’s government.”

Background

The concert was cancelled without any explanation on November 5, and again on November 6 after the police arbitrarily withdrew the license of the venue.

Luaty Beirão, a rap musician and pro-democracy activist is a known government critic. 

He was arrested on June 20, 2015 and convicted for the crime of “preparatory acts of rebellion” and “criminal conspiracy” alongside other 16 activists for meeting to discuss politics and governance concerns in the country. Amnesty International considered him to be a prisoner of conscience.

He was released on June 29, 2016.

MCK was prevented by the Angolan government from travelling to Brazil on November 24, 2015 to take part in a music festival. He campaigned for the release of Luaty Beirão and his fellow activists.