Eswatini protests: Nurses refuse to treat police, claim authorities shot their colleagues
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Cape Town – Nurses in eSwatini are refusing to treat police officers as they have accused the authorities of shooting their colleagues during pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the southern African country.
According to local media, earlier this week, health workers and other public sector employees, who went to deliver a petition to parliament demanding better living conditions, were met with an "unprecedented show of force", the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SDNU) said, reported BBC News Africa.
eSwatini, previously Swaziland, is Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
Video received; nurses in Eswatini are protesting against police brutality amid pro-democracy protests in which the country’s nurses union say several of its members were shot at pic.twitter.com/q0Yh0f50dR— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) October 22, 2021
According to Twitter reports, the nurses’ union described the police as a “brood of vipers”.
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 Thursday, human rights organisation Amnesty International called on authorities in eSwatini to drop all trumped-up charges against members of parliament, Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, and release them immediately.
According to local media, the two were detained amid a wave of pro-democracy protests and charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act and for contravening Covid-19 regulations.
Amnesty says the two MPs have been detained at a police station in the capital Mbabane since July 25, about a month after pro-democracy protests began in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
Since May, more than 80 people have been killed by security forces and many others arrested on suspicion of involvement in protests calling for political reforms in eSwatini, the rights group says.
Furthermore, in a recent speech, King Mswati III said he was not prepared to negotiate with “dagga smokers” and drunkards, referring to pro-democracy protesters.
Authorities have deployed security forces to crush dissent, closed schools indefinitely and instructed mobile telephone network companies to shut down the internet and social media platforms.
eSwatini, which is completely landlocked by South Africa, has been on a knife 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.