The Swaziland Solidarity Network has called on the South African government to intervene in the political crisis. File image.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network has called on the South African government to intervene in the political crisis. File image.

eSwatini police fire tear gas at pro-democracy protesters

By Chad Williams Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Cape Town – In another day of ongoing pro-democracy protests in eSwatini, protesters suffered serious injuries when the police fired tear gas inside a bus that was transporting them to a protest in the capital city of Mbabane on Wednesday.

According to online news outlet Swazi News, the forces of King Mswati III took to the capital to shoot unarmed protesting civilians who were demanding democratic reforms.

Local media reported that women and children were among the casualties on Wednesday.

eSwatini, which is completely landlocked by South Africa, has been on a knife’s edge since being rocked by a wave of unprecedented violent pro-democracy protests earlier this year.

Protesters are calling for an end to the rule of King Mswati III and are also calling for democracy.

King Mswati III this week ordered the immediate and indefinite closure of schools in the kingdom after the protests flared up. Students and pupils boycotted lessons and called for free schooling, as well as an end to Mswati's rule.

On Tuesday the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) called on the South African government to intervene, saying Pretoria’s laissez-faire attitude was reminiscent of how the continent and international bodies had watched on and “monitored” the genocide in Rwanda until it was too late.

Civil rights movement #NotInMyName has also called on the South African government to immediately intervene “by condemning the barbaric actions of the eSwatini regime against its own people”.

Blade Nzimande, general secretary of the South African Communist Party, told reporters in an interview on Wednesday that the time for democracy in the southern African country was long overdue and that the time for a monarchical government was over. He said the SACP supported the democratisation of eSwatini.

African News Agency (ANA)

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