Swaziland police shot an innocent bystander in the stomach with a rubber bullet as they attacked a protest of transport workers.
Bonginkosi Mkhonto was rushed to hospital with the bullet lodged in his ribs.
He was not part of the protest but was caught up in a confrontation involving police at the bus rank in Manzini, Swaziland’s major commercial city. Transport workers were striking following the conviction of a kombi driver who was fined R4800 (US$685) for a traffic offence which normally carries a spot fine of R60 (US$8.50).
The protest is taking place alongside strikes involving teachers, nurses and public servants over a 4.5 percent pay claim.
The Centre for Human Rights, Swaziland, reported that several other people were injured by police who were seen ‘ransacking’ the Manzini bus rank in an attempt to arrest protesting transport operators.
The Centre said, ‘Several protesters and pedestrians have been arrested by the police who are going for any person they suspect to be taking part in the on-going protest action.
‘The police fired teargas all over the town as a result harming vendors and other people in the town. Scenes of violent police have been observed all over the town as police beat up protesters using batons and fists.’