The protests sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East have inspired demands for political reform in Equatorial Guinea.
The waves of demonstrations and appeals for democratic reform across North Africa and the Middle East have inspired similar calls for fundamental economic, social, and political changes in Equatorial Guinea. On February 11, 2011, writer Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel initiated a week-long hunger strike, calling on the regime of Equatoguinean president Teodoro Obiang—who has ruled Equatorial Guinea for more than 30 years—to step down.
In mid-March, the opposition party Popular Union submitted an application to the government to host a peaceful demonstration to advocate for democratic reform and improved social conditions. The groups posted flyers around Malabo and Bata announcing the March 23 demonstration. The government, however, denied the request and mobilized security forces in multiple cities, ostensibly as a show of force to thwart would-be-protestors.
To read Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel's open letter, click here.
Click here to view Mr. Ávila’s conversation about his hunger strike with a reporter from the Spanish news agency EFE.
Click here to read the Government of Equatorial Guinea's response to Mr. Ávila's hunger strike.