12 April 2011
Swaziland Democracy Campaign
Leading trade unionists and activists including leaders of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign have been roughly manhandled and now arrested at the offices of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions. Comrades Mary Pais Da Silva, and Sikelela Dlamini, the Coordinators of the Democracy Campaign and the Swaziland United Democratic Front respectively are amongst those who have just been detained with Union leaders at 12.30pm.
Contingency plans have been developed for such an eventuality and despite the clampdown by the authorities the SDC and SUDF still has the means to receive messages and updates from inside the country and will continue to issue statements etc.
It has been confirmed by independent observers that this is the largest security mobilisation that has taken place in Swaziland for decades. It has also been reported that soldiers and police are bearing brand new weaponry, and the source of these instruments of oppression is being investigated.
The regime is determined to arrest all leaders, restrict the movement of all travellers including pedestrians, and do all they can to disrupt the protest actions that are unfolding on the streets of Swaziland.
Students have been confined to campuses, and anyone wearing union or political tee-shirts or caps is being told to change, or risk arrest. Many are detained however, but when arrested are continuing to sing songs, and be defiant. This too indicates the growth in confidence of democracy activists. In several smaller towns protest gatherings have taken place for the first time in decades. Prominent leaders of faith based organisations have joined in the protests.
International solidarity messages are pouring in, and world trade unions, rights agencies and political organisations are more determined than ever to use the ILO and many other avenues to isolate the regime and expose further its barbarous character. The abuses of the regime have hardened resolve to action a comprehensive sanctions campaign, and to deprive the Royal Regime and its entourage from squandering the wealth they have accumulated at the expense of the poor. Measures are also underway to pressurise the IMF and other financial institutions to resist from investing in Swaziland to bail out the royal regime. Most importantly, what the regime is doing today is adding fuel to the fire of democratic change from below. Nothing will be quite the same ever again in Swaziland, and the days of the regime are numbered.
The Swaziland Democracy Campaign salutes all those who refuse to be intimidated and are celebrating their eventual freedom by refusing to be bowed at this time. We are with you comrades!