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Monday, 5 September 2011

PHONES CUT AS SWAZILAND PROTESTS

The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) in Swaziland is reporting today (5 September 2011) that mobile phone communications in the capital Mbabane have been cut on the first day of a planned five day protest in the kingdom.

It reports sole mobile communication provider MTN Swaziland, which is 51% owned by King Mswati, has shut communication. This is a repeat of what happened last year during the 1st Global week of action when communication was shut, PUDEMO says.

PUDEMO also quotes organisers in Mbabane saying that more than 2,000 protesters have started marching around the capital and the numbers are growing. The police and the army as expected have turned back many buses and the numbers currently on the streets have been locally mobilised.

PUDEMO condemns this cowardice and calls on the international community to condemn the Swazi regime for resorting to measures that have a potential of putting the lives of ordinary people in danger.

Mary Pais da Silver, coordinator of Swaziland Democracy Campaign-SDC in Swaziland reports that they are now using ‘alternative’ communication means to communicate with allies and friends outside of the capital.

PUDEMO says the marches will spread to other towns tomorrow and throughout the whole week. The people are demanding the unbanning of political parties, return of exiles, a democratic constitution, release of political prisoners, end to corruption, the freezing of a government process to retrench over 7000 public workers, availability of medication in public hospitals and suspension of the proposed scholarship policy which effectively makes education the preserve of the rich elite.

The activities will be taking place in 21 cities around the world. Activists from a number of countries have also joined the marches in Swaziland in solidarity with their comrades and friends. Other activities are scheduled to take place in Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leon, UK, Greece, France, Denmark, Norway, US, South Africa and Sweden to mention but a few of the countries where SDC chapters joined by Swazi exiles will also be active.

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