Swaziland police officers are forced by their superiors to beat up legitimate demonstrators and marchers ‘even if they are peaceful’.
This evidence that Swaziland’s police force is being used by the state against its own people comes from a serving police officer.
The police officer, who has nine years in the job, says, ‘I was posted in the department which mostly deals with riots, including protesters and marchers.
‘Whenever I heard that a march would take place, I would feel like crying.
‘The reason was that my bosses would tell us to go and disrupt as well as beat up the protestors, even if they are peaceful.
‘This was usually determined by the main agenda or petition. If it was political, even if they would carry flowers, we would disperse them.’
The comments come from the officer (who gives his full name), writing in the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper.
He says, ‘As a police officer I am forced to beat innocent people. I am not happy. If it was not for my family I would resign from such a job. I would rather live in poverty than beat people up for no good reason.’
To read his full account click here.