Police cracked down on democracy protesters in Swaziland today (1 May 2013) as workers tried to celebrate May Day.
Arrests were reported across the kingdom as democracy leaders refused police instructions to stay at home and not attend May Day events.
The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned party in Swaziland, reported its president Mario Masuku had been taken to police headquarters after he ignored a house arrest ban.
Other reports say that the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Secretary General and also Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA ) Second Deputy Secretary Muzi Mhlanga has also been placed under house arrest.
TUCOSWA President Barnes Dlamini and his first Deputy Secretary General Mduduzi Gina are reportedly held at TUCOSWA offices by police.
TUCOSWA was banned from participating in the May Day events by the Swaziland Industrial Court because it is not a legally-recognised labour federation in the kingdom.
Protests have been growing in recent weeks across Swaziland against national elections due to take place later this year. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and the parliament that will be elected has no power.
King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
POLICE VIOLENCE ‘EXPECTED’ ON MAY DAY