Angolan Rapper Luaty Beirão's Hunger Strike Hits Day 26
Revolutionary Angolan rapper Luaty Beirão, who performs as Ikonoklasta, is 26 days into a hunger strike during a four-month imprisonment without trial in his country. Gandhi went 21 days in his campaign for India's independence.
Beirão was arrested along with 13 other activists in June during a meeting of their book club, accused of attempting to overthrow President José Eduardo dos Santos. The current government has been in power for 36 years.
“The law should be respected—they shouldn’t be held for more than 90 days without trial,” Beirão’s wife Monica Almeida told the BBC. “I’m very worried about his health and what will happen to him next.”
About 20 activists calling for his release were arrested at a vigil in Angola’s capital earlier this week.
Beirão, whose father has close political ties to President Dos Santos, has been a continuous and outspoken critic of Angola’s redistribution of wealth and other policies. Angola is Africa’s second-largest oil producer, half of the population lives off less than $2 a day, and public demonstrations are banned.
“The problem is already identified: the elite has nothing more to give, they should recognize that they served the country, they took advantage of it and now it’s time to hand it over,” Beirão told a Portuguese newspaper before his arrest.
He was previously jailed in 2011 for protests related to the Arab Spring, and was arrested twice on drug charges in 2012 (he contends he was framed). In Ikonoklasta's track "Revolution," he urges his listeners to love one another, to remember that every story has at least two sides, and pays homage to Jonas Savimbi, an anti-colonial guerilla leader with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) who died in a clash with government forces. We will update this story as it continues to unfold.