Police in Swaziland said they would arrest anyone at this week’s May Day celebrations who ‘utter defamatory statements about authorities’.
But, they said they would to allow people to mark the day on 1 May.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as an absolute monarch, reported on Tuesday (28 April 2015) , ‘Police Information and Communications Officer Assistant Superintendent Khulani Mamba said since this was an internationally recognised day, they would not hinder the celebrations by workers but would deal with those that would utter statements against authority.’
He added, ‘However, those that will utter defamatory statements about authorities will be arrested.’
This warning was aimed at people who advocate for democracy in Swaziland where no political parties are allowed to contest elections and opposition groups are banned as ‘terrorists’ under the controversial Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008.
At the May Day celebrations in 2014, People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) President Mario Masuku and the party’s youth congress leader Maxwell Dlamini were arrested and charged with uttering seditious statements. They have been in jail for a year awaiting trial.
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