Police in Swaziland beat up demonstrators with batons and used teargas against them as protests spread across the kingdom.
Yesterday (11 April 2012), on the first day of what some activists are calling an ‘indefinite protest action’, large numbers of police and soldiers were present in all major towns and cities.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) reported, ‘A large contingent of police and soldiers, who were present in all major towns and cities, threw teargas canisters at protesters and beat them with batons in an attempt to stop the protests.’
SSN, reporting from the Swazi capital Mbabane and the town of Siteki, said, ‘When this failed to quell the protests they resorted to the usual tactics of arresting the suspected ring leaders. In particular three members of SNAT were arrested in the Lubombo region. One of them is the Deputy President of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), Sifiso Mabuza, their whereabouts are still unknown but it is clear that they have not been released.’
Activists are protesting against the undemocratic regime of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. All political parties and opposition groups are banned in the kingdom.
Protests were expected to last until the weekend, but SSN said the action was ‘indefinite’.
GOVERNMENT THREAT TO PROTESTERS