In Swaziland, the small southern African kingdom, there has been a confrontation between government forces and pro-democracy demonstrators. Shots were fired, and tear gas was fired to disperse the demonstrators, eyewitnesses said. Protest is rare in the country, but dissatisfaction with King Mswati has increased among the population.
In Swaziland, pro-democracy protests are underway in various parts of the country. Last night there was a confrontation between the security forces and the protesters, but the toll of the conflict remains unclear. Eyewitnesses said security forces fired shots, and protesters were killed and injured. Other sources do not list any casualties.
There was looting, and shops were also set on fire. The government has imposed a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. “to curb unrest”. Schools were also closed. The security forces are present in large numbers in the streets.
The demonstrators’ anger is directed at 53-year-old King Mswati. In recent years, discontent against the last absolute monarchy in Africa has grown sharply. Critics say the king has been trying to block thorough democratic reforms for years.
They also accuse the king of “using the state treasury as a piggy bank to support his lavish lifestyle”. While most residents live below the poverty line, the king owns several palaces with 15 wives. The king dismissed the accusations as “unjustified”.
But according to some sources, King Mswati is said to have fled the country. Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has denied that. He says the king is still in the land. According to the prime minister, the protesters and their demands are also being listened to. The government also on Twitter asked the demonstrators “to use alternative means to express their concerns”.
With a population of 1.3 million, Swaziland has been led since 1986 by King Mswati III, who controls parliament and appoints ministers himself. There are no political parties. Protests are rare. In 2018, the monarch also renamed his country Eswatini, which means “land of the Swazis” in Swati. The name Swaziland is a mixture of Swati and English.
Swaziland, which South Africa and Mozambique landlock, exports sugar, soft drink concentrates and cotton.