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Monday, 3 September 2012

STATE FORCES STOP PROTEST RALLY


Swaziland state security forces have violently dispersed a rally in the industrial town of Matsapha today (3 September) called as part of the first day of a global week of action taking place in the kingdom.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned organisation in Swaziland, reported that the rally started after activists went from door-to-door in the town distributing leaflets publicising the week of activities to draw attention to the lack of democracy in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

PUDEMO reported that during the day activists had been gathering in the towns of Siteki, Manzini and Matsapha. In Siteki, one trade unionist was reported arrested and detained by police.

Day One of the week of activities was devoted to hunger and poverty. ‘Hunger and starvation has reduced of our Swazis into beggars and recipients. They are prone to human rights abuse because of their position. We should all work towards eradicating that,’ Mandla Mkhwanazi, Chair of Lawyers for Human Rights in Swaziland, said.

Maxwell Dlamini, Swaziland National Union of Student (SNUS) President, said, ‘Many of our people have died of malnourishment, poverty and hunger which has been orchestrated by the royal tinkhundla system which has pursued skewed and discriminatory socio-economic policies. Poverty and hunger has reached terrible levels hence a total transformation of our society into a democratic dispensation is urgent and necessary so as to create a human society with food security and rid of hunger and poverty.’

Seven in ten people in Swaziland live in abject poverty, earning less than $US2 a day.

The week of action is set to continue until 7 September. Pickets and other activities will be taking place in Swaziland, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

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