Swazi students say they want the mass protest planned for tomorrow (18 March 2011) to bring down the government and see the end of ‘royal misrule in Swaziland’.
The time has now come ‘for the seizure of power’, says the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS).
Students are joining labour unions in a march on the prime minister’s office in Mbabane.
The SNUS declaration is likely to raise the temperature in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to boiling point. Already, the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) has predicted that Swazi police and paramilitaries will attack protestors on the march.
South Africa’s African National Congress Youth league (ANCYL) has also said that if Swazi state forces kill any protestors it will intervene in ‘radical and militant ways’ to ensure there is ‘democracy, peace and freedom in Swaziland’.
In a statement issued today, SNUS says, ‘Tomorrow will mark the end of the royal misrule in Swaziland.’
SNUS says, ‘Our demand in tomorrow’s protest action is for the government to resign and the immediate establishment of a transitional government that should draft, in consultation with our people, a democratic constitution that will lead us towards free and fair democratic elections.
‘We have lost confidence in the present government and call for it to hand power back to the people.’
The SNUS says it was ‘inspired’ by the statement of support from ANCYL. ‘It did well to boost our confidence and determination to unseat this tyrannical regime.’
The students fear that state forces will attack them at the march tomorrow. ‘The regime’s intimidating tactics of flooding the country with fully armed police officers parading in a brazen show of military power will not help,’ SNUS says.
It goes on, ‘We make no apologies that students are angry and warn the army and police not to dare touch us.’ It says students will ‘defend ourselves in the event we are attacked’.
POLICE 'PLAN TO ATTACK PROTESTORS'
PROTEST ‘WILL HALT SWAZILAND’
S AFRICA THREAT TO SWAZILAND KING
SWAZI KING’S DAYS ARE NUMBERED