Democracy Now Update: Mswati’s security forces shoot and assault peaceful protesters

Thursday 21 October 2021:- On Wednesday 20 October 2021, Africa’s last absolute monarch, Mswati III, once again unleashed his vicious security forces to shoot and kill innocent and unarmed civilians who advocate for democracy. The regime once again shut down the internet, to conceal its crimes.

Close to 50 protesters were heavily assaulted in various places in the city and outskirts. There are fears that there may have been some killed or that some may succumb to their injuries.

The Mbabane Government Hospital floors were like a warzone as they were drenched in blood. Health workers and staff were overwhelmed by the carnage.

The royal police went a step further and invaded the hospital, shooting even nurses as they attended to the injured, worsening the situation.

Protesters were scattered all over the city, with some regrouping in Msunduza township, on the outskirts of the capital city.

The police heavy-handedness was targeted at disrupting a scheduled demonstration by four Public Sector Associations. These included the Swaziland Democratic Nurses’ Union (SWADNU), National Public Services & Allied Workers’ Union (NAPSAWU), Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), and Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP).

The unions demanded the government’s return to the negotiation table to discuss workers’ salary review, end casualisation, and end privatisation of public service. They also called for the regime to stop trade union bashing.

The unions further demanded the unconditional release of the about 700 political prisoners, and democratisation of the country.

On the same day in Mbabane, two members of parliament who have been in jail for the past three months for demanding democracy were scheduled to appear at the high court to respond to the regime’s trumped-up charges.

Protests also took place in Manzini, Buhleni and Msunduza.

In a bid to prevent the unions’ demonstration, the autocracy’s police also blocked all vehicles heading to Mbabane.

In one instance, the police fired teargas into a bus full of passengers and shot all who tried to escape through the door. Passengers were forced to jump out through the windows, leaving many wounded and a bus engulfed in thick smoke.

The media were not spared from the security forces’ wrath. The police shot and assaulted everyone they could lay their eyes on, including journalists who had to run for their lives.

In the wake of the violent clampdown, the public service unions have called for workers to stay at home and not report to work from Thursday, 21 October, to protect themselves from the murderous regime’s security forces.

The Mswati autocracy has once again proved to all that it is prepared to spill more blood. Last week, the regime shot protesting school children, with some as young as seven years old, at point blank range. They also shot and assaulted public transport workers, leaving one dead and about 50, including children, wounded.

About 100 people have been killed by the regime since June, as well as hundreds more injured, with dozens paralysed consequently.

The freedom of the people is now more urgent. The people demand more practical action to force the regime out of power and establish a democratic dispensation.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) calls for the people of Swaziland to turn up the heat for Democracy Now.

The CPS calls for principled unity in the decisive fight for the immediate dissolution of the oppressive and exploitative Mswati autocracy, unbanning of political parties, and immediate establishment of a democratic dispensation.

The CPS also calls for intensified international solidarity with the people of Swaziland.

CPS PRESS

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