Riot police in Swaziland are under fire for using rubber bullets and teargas against striking workers.
A strike at Swaziland Plantation has entered its second month amid clashes between police and workers.
Swaziland Agriculture and Plantations Workers Union (SAPWU) Chairperson Sibusiso Masuku told the Swazi Observer newspaper the police had taken a violent stance against the workers.
On Wednesday (14 September 2016) the newspaper reported him saying, ‘During the strike, we the striking workers, saw rubber bullets fired at us by the riot police as well as teargas. We have also been chased away from the Plantation entrance where we had originally started our strike. Police have been arresting us for instigating violence and to add insult to injury, we have had seen some of our fellow workers being injured during the protest, it has been a bad time for us.’
The newspaper reported there had been renewed clashes on Friday (9 September 2016) between police and unarmed workers.
Masuku told the Observer, ‘The riot police are just pawns used by the Plantation Forest Company administration to fight against us, we feel safer when they are not present as we do not understand their way of thinking.’
In June 2015, Swaziland was listed as one of the top ten worst countries in the world for workers’ rights. It was grouped alongside some of the worst human rights violators on the planet, including Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
POLICE FIRE SHOTS AT WORKERS’ STRIKE