Statement from the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO)
12 April 2011
Workers Remain Defiant on April 12
This morning, the workers movement in Swaziland staged a mass protest in the city of Manzini. A lot of developments took place in the morning as the state’s security forces were determined to ensure the mass action did not take place.
Even before the action took place, many of the worker leaders were rounded up by the security forces as a blatant show of force. More activists were brutally rounded up at random across the city, loaded into trucks and sent to the Manzini Regional Police Headquarters. Along the roads many activists who were heading for Manzini city were forced out of their transport and sent back to their places.
In other areas like the region, about seven mini buses ferrying workers were turned back halfway between Hlatikulu and Manzini.
The PUDEMO President Mario Masuku was placed under house arrest together with many other activists.
In the city, there occasional running battles between the protestors and the police. This resulted in businesses shutting down, public transport was quickly evacuated from the city rank.
The Prime Minister’s promise that this was going to be a normal day was proved very wrong as there was no business as usual and the workers defied the threats made by the state.
PUDEMO salutes the workers and the people of Swaziland for standing up to the hostile regime and press through with their demands. We also salute our international allies for their undying show of solidarity to the struggling masses of Swaziland.
We further condemn the brutal use of force by the state’s security forces on the protestors attempting to protect the undemocratic and oppressive Tinkhundla regime.