This is a media release from the Swaziland United Democratic Front that says that last week’s protests were a ‘significant milestone’ in the history of the struggle for multiparty democracy in the kingdom.
SUDF says as a result the world now is in no doubt as to the scale of repression in Swaziland.
April 12th – 15th a Watershed in Swazi Struggle History
18 April 2011
The Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) proclaims the April 12th – 15th anti-Tinkhundla protests a significant milestone in the history of the struggle for multiparty democracy in Swaziland. The SUDF proudly cites the following indicators to back its bold claim:
Swazis from all walks of life woke up on the 12th and boarded transport to take them to the centre of the action in Manzini in protesting decades of chronic Tinkhundla misrule; a feat they repeated without fail despite all forms of intimidation until the action was suspended in the afternoon of the 14th.
It took the state police roadblocks to offload buses, detain protestors, and divert them in order to prevent them from reaching their intended destination and partaking in the marches.
It took paramilitary police’s uncompromising brutality to prevent people from standing in twos or threes inside Manzini, especially at and around the bus rank, to ensure that no protest march had a chance of starting.
It took the same police to detain trade union and civil society leadership to ensure that the protests were leaderless and therefore could not proceed with the marches.
It took the police to disrupt all meetings particularly at the SNAT Centre by the remaining leadership of the pro-democracy campaign to still provide leadership and direction to protestors.
It also took a police crackdown on the SUDF offices at SFTU to sever the essential communication lines through which Sikelela Dlamini and Mary Da Silva were updating the world on the protests inside Swaziland.
It took the state security forces to impose a 9 p.m. curfew to prevent protestors from gathering by nightfall too.
But the damage had already been done nonetheless as the world is currently in no doubt as to the scale of repression and the kind of pressure that must now be put on the Tinkhundla regime to allow reforms.
We would like to thank our affiliates for once again heeding the call to come out and demand an end to Tinkhundla dictatorship and the introduction of multiparty democracy. We are forever indebted to our international solidarity partners for their unfailing support. We count on all of you to continue to support our campaign as we intensify our demand for political freedom. Our starting point has to be the demand for the immediate and unconditional release of comrades Maxwell Dlamini and Musa Ngubeni from Tinkhundla holding cells. They have committed no crimes other than demanding their citizenship right to multiparty democracy.