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Monday, 27 December 2010

SWAZI YOUTH STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM

More than 100 young people from Swaziland went to the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students to report on the struggle against the monarchy of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

And they said they fear possible arrest when they return to Swaziland, because they attended the festival, The Militant newspaper, New York, reports.

More than 200 delegates attended a workshop about that fight for democracy in Swaziland at the festival in Pretoria, South Africa,

Militant reports, Pius Vilakati, 28, a student who led several marches protesting government cuts in education earlier this year, described how the police told him to ‘stop these demonstrations and threatened me’.

Vilakati told the story of Sipho Jele, who had been arrested along with others at a May Day demonstration for wearing T-shirts with the acronym PUDEMO.

The Peoples United Democratic Movement, the main opposition group in Swaziland, is banned. Jele died in police custody.

Shortly after speaking at the funeral for Jele, Vilakati learned police planned to arrest him and he managed to escape to South Africa.

Students from South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, and Mozambique joined the discussion on how to support the fight for democratic rights in Swaziland. Many said they had not known of the repressive conditions in the kingdom.


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