More arrests of protest leaders are reported from Swaziland this morning (12 April 2012).
The latest to be held is Muzi Mhlanga, Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, one of the leading organisations behind a mass strike and demonstrations being held across Swaziland today until the weekend.
Mhlanga was detained by police on his way to a protest march in Manzini, the major business city in Swaziland, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) reports.
SSN says Mdudu Gina, First Deputy Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), another leading group in the action calling for democratic reforms in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Gina was blocked from attending the protests by the police and has been banned from entering any city until the Swazi authorities allow him.
SSN says, ‘What we have gathered is that the rounding up of leaders is continuing, and it is not just the union leaders that are getting detained, but even leaders and well known members of the mass democratic movement. Effectively Swaziland has turned into a military state as Mswati has declared war against any dissenting view.’
Last night, Barnabas Dlamini, the Swaziland Prime Minister, declared the protests illegal and said security forces would be deployed to stop them.
POLICE ARREST PROTEST LEADERS