SA urges protection of protesters in troubled Eswatini

Protests: King Mswati III, pictured at a conference in France in October 2019 of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Protests: King Mswati III, pictured at a conference in France in October 2019 of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

AFP/File | Ludovic MARIN

PRETORIA - Regional powerhouse South Africa on Thursday urged security forces in Eswatini to practise "total restraint" and preserve lives following reports of deadly pro-democracy protests.

Eswatini, previously called Swaziland, is Africa's last absolute monarchy.

"The South African government calls on the security forces to exercise total restraint and protect the lives and property of the people," said Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson,  Clayson Monyela.

"We are particularly concerned by reports of loss of life and destruction of properties," he said in a statement.

READ: Eswatini imposes curfew as military quell pro-democracy riots

The landlocked southern African kingdom has long stifled dissent.

But demonstrations escalated radically this week as protesters took to the streets demanding immediate political reforms.

Unverified videos that have emerged on social media showed police using force to disperse protesters.

Eswatini

Eswatini

AFP | Paz PIZARRO

Activists say eight people were killed and dozens injured in clashes with police. The authorities have declined to give details.

READ: Eswatini goverment denies King Mswati III has fled

Internet access has been limited while shops and banks are shuttered, straining communication and limiting access to basic goods under a dawn-to-dusk curfew.

Eswatini relies heavily on neighbouring South Africa for most of the kingdom's goods.

The United States has also urged authorities in Eswatini to exercise restraint and allow peaceful protests.

 

 

 

Source
AFP

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