A protest is planned in London on Tuesday (26 April 2011) against King Mswati III of Swaziland, who is in the city to attend the British royal wedding.
21 April 2011
ACTSA and the Swaziland Vigil will tell King Mswati III - Democracy for Swaziland now
Africa’s only absolute monarch, King Mswati III has been invited to attend the Royal Wedding on 29 April. He will be arriving on 26 April and staying at the luxurious Dorchester Hotel, along with an entourage of 50.
Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) and the Swaziland Vigil will be holding a joint protest from 6pm-7pm on Tuesday 26 April outside the hotel to call for democracy and rights for Swaziland .
King Mswati leaves behind a country in political and economic turmoil. On 12-13 April hundreds of people were arrested for attempting to protest for democracy, rights and against deepening poverty. The Kingdom’s security forces detained trade union and pro-democracy leaders. Those who managed to protest were met with tear gas, arrested and then dropped off in forests, left to find their own way home.
Swaziland has remained under a state of emergency since 1973, political parties are banned, trade unions and other civil society organisations are massively restricted. It has the highest HIV positive rate in the world. More than 60% of the population live in absolute poverty (on less than $1.25 a day), whilst the King and his friends live in luxury.
Tony Dykes, Director of ACTSA said: “It is astonishing that the Palace, presumably with advice from the British government have invited the King of Swaziland to the Royal Wedding. They may claim they have done so due to some kind of protocol; if so they are putting protocol before human rights. Whilst the King and his entourage party in luxury in London the people of Swaziland are being pushed deeper into poverty and those who speak out face arrest and even torture. ACTSA calls on the British government to speak out about the worsening situation in Swaziland and express concern to the highest levels of its government.”