Public servants were prevented by police from protesting about their pay levels when King Mswati III, Swaziland’s absolute monarch, opened the Swazi Parliament on Friday (12 February 2016).
Trade unionists wanted the Swazi Government, which is unelected and handpicked by the King, to release a salary review report into their pay that was completed four months ago.
Public protests are rare in Swaziland where political parties are banned from contesting elections and groups advocating multi-party democracy in the kingdom are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
Members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU), National Association of Public Servants and Allied Workers (NAPSAW) and Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP) had wanted to march to the Parliament building and deliver a petition to the Clerk of Parliament.
Earlier this month two tradeunion activists were arrested and charged with obstruction when they took part in a picket organised by public service unions.
TENSION OVER SWAZI PAY PROTEST