Two trade unionists were arrested by state police in Swaziland for holding a banner belonging to the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) at a May Day rally.
TUCOSWA was banned from holding a rally to celebrate the workers’ day because the group is not recognised by government in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
A rally went ahead in the commercial city of Manzini, but not under the umbrella of TUCOSWA.
The Centre for Human Rights, Swaziland, reported today (1 May 2012) that state police arrested at least two trade union members for holding a TUCOSWA banner.
In a statement it said, ‘Unconfirmed reports indicate that Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT)’s Muzi Mhlanga and another unidentified worker were taken into a white police van for carrying a TUCOSWA banner.’
It added, ‘A scuffle ensued during the arrest, as over 20 uniformed police, plus several plain clothed police, as well as those from the paramilitary wing, the Operational Support Service Unit (OSSU) violently moved in to disposes the toyi-toying workers of the TUCOSWA banner.’