Four injured as police break up Swazi workers' protest

29 June 2018 - 16:29 By afp.com
Trade Union Congress of Swazilandcalims that millions of dollars have been removed from the national pension fund by the government of King Mswati III.
Trade Union Congress of Swazilandcalims that millions of dollars have been removed from the national pension fund by the government of King Mswati III.
Image: AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

Four protesters were injured Friday in eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, as police used rubber bullets to break up a workers' protest over alleged government corruption, trade union officials said.

The demonstration organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland was over accusations that millions of dollars have been removed from the national pension fund by the government of King Mswati III, one of the world's few absolute monarchs.

Parliament instituted the probe into the alleged scandal, but it was later halted.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at about 500 protesters, as well as using water canon and wielding batons, as demonstrators threw stones at officers.

"We were marching peacefully until this unfortunate incident by police," trade union leader Bheki Mamba told the protesters.

"The injured comrades have been rushed to hospital. We assured the police that we are not confrontational."

Swazi authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Public protests have grown over recent years in the southern African country, where political parties are banned.

Critics of the king, who has ruled since 1986, say his reign is authoritarian and wasteful as many of the population suffer dire poverty.


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