Friday, 20 July 2012

Swazi Police Beat Striking Teachers

Lobamba's finest gearing up for action
It seems people are finally starting to remember Africa's forgotten Despot. It also seems that the events kicked off in Tunisia the opening of the "Arab Spring" also spread South as many African regimes whose political and human rights records have "Must do better" scribbled over them in red ink found the streets to be packed with angry citizens waving placards. Swaziland despite its decades long state of emergency has been no exception. The nation has been hit by waves of public servant strikes and peaceful demonstrations. Recently the Teachers Union joined the strikes and took part in demo's organized by the National Public Service and Allied Workers’ Union (NAPSAWU), the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (STAWU) and the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT).

Naturally the King's patience only stretched so far and it wasn't too long before the riot police were called in.

"While about 500 union members were peacefully gathering in Coronation Park in Mbabane, the police started to disperse the crowd using batons, tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. Eight people were shot, five were seriously beaten up, and twelve workers had to be hospitalised. Furthermore, the President of NAPSAWU, Quinton Dlamini, was arrested right before he tried to join the striking SNAT teachers. All three unions are affiliated to the ITUC-affiliated Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA); their main demand was a 4.5% salary adjustment."
Emphasis my own.

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The video actually comes from The Times, and whilst the Morning Star has nothing to fear over losing its position as my favourite daily it is nice to see a few more people exposing the brutality of King Mswati III.

He doesn't look happy now does he?

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