Security forces in Swaziland have begun a clampdown on prodemocracy demonstrations.
Leaders of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), one of the main organisers of the demonstrations, are reported to have been arrested this morning (12 April 2012) at Coronation Park in the Swazi capital city, Mbabane.
One report says they are presently being held at the Mbabane police station under heavy guard.
Yesterday, Barnabas Dlamini, the Swazi Prime Minister, announced a ban on all protests today, which he claimed were deemed by the courts to be illegal.
He said in a statement national security services had been instructed to deal with the protests.
In a separate statement Percy Simelane, the official government spokesperson, said, ‘We shall deal with all those who will want to defy the law. The Industrial Court stopped any form of protests and we therefore do not expect any protest.’
He told journalists, ‘We can promise them now that those who will attempt to defy the ruling will be dealt with harshly.’
Demonstrations are being held across Swaziland calling for democratic reforms in the kingdom, which is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
SWAZI PM BANS DEMOCRACY PROTESTS
GOVERNMENT THREAT TO PROTESTERS