Police break up Mandela memorial in absolute monarchy

Leaders and dignitaries from all over the world took part in a memorial for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg. And all over the world, local memorial services are being held to enable ordinary people to mourn the passing of, and celebrate the life of, Mandela.

All over the world, but not in South Africa’s neighbouring country, the small absolute monarchy of Swaziland, where police today broke up a memorial prayer service at the Lutheran Church in Manzini organised by the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), “by brute force.”

According to a statement made by Wandile Dludlu from the SUDF, there is a clear connection between Mandela’s fight for democracy and justice and that of the democratic movement in Swaziland. “We love you Mandela and pledge to honour you by hastening our victory for democracy in Swaziland.”

For more information, call Wandile Dludlu from the Swaziland United Democratic Front on +268 76111676

Update 13.45:

According to PUDEMO the South African High Commissioner to Swaziland, Happy Mahlangu, has been stopped by police from attending the Mandela Memorial. He has been advised to go back.

Update 14.00:

According to an activist, “the police refused us entry but a few comrades defied and held the prayer outside the church gate.”

Update 14.30:

According to PUDEMO, “police continue to block anyone who comes anywhere near the Lutheran Church where we were hoping to hold a memorial to honour Nelson Mandela. Around 30 police officers are blockading the church and are denying even the resident pastor Reverend Zwanini Shabalala entry to the church.”

Update 14.50:

According to an activist, “police bring in riot squad armed with guns and teargas to stop peaceful Mandela Memorial at Lutheran Church Manzini. Brethren start singing Nkosi Sikelela.”

Update 16:30:

According to PUDEMO, “the memorial was later held on open ground just outside the church where it was supposed to be held.” PUDEMO President Mario Masuku gave the following statement: “Shame on the tinkhundla government for suppressing Swazis from mourning Nelson Mandela and in the process contradicting his principles.”

Update 16.40:

Statement from Wandile Dludlu, SUDF:

We have finished  the service which had to be held outside the Lutheran Premises as police forcefully stopped anyone from entering the church.
About 20 police officers in uniform led by the regional commander Mr Tsabedze illegally, unreasonable yet unjustifiably used force to blocked the entrance locking inside the Lutheran Bishop who later preached from the inside of the fence while about 50 mourners and comrades stood outside the church yard to listen to the word of God. This came after representatives from the following organizations made their farewell messages to Madiba
1. SUDF by Mpandlana Shongwe
2. SCCCO by Ms Lomcebo Dlamini
3. SNUS by Mpumie Magagula
4. TUCOSWA by Vincent Ncongwane
5. CA by Reverend Zwanini Lushaba
Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko took comrades through the brief history of the life and times of Mandela
The South African Deputy High Commissioner Ms Annel Van Zyl Spoke on behalf of the SA commissioner.
Bishop Mnisi of the Lutheran Church led us in a 15minutes sermon

Then SUDF coordinator made vote of thanks and at around 16:30 pm we dispersed. Defiance paid of like it did with Mandela himself

Update 17.20:

SUDF STATEMENT ON THE MANDELA MEMORIAL SERVICE BRUTAL CRUSH
The world must know, that his majesty’s Government through the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) has illegally, unreasonable as well as unjustifiable stopped Swazis from paying tribute to Mandela. This happened today just outside the premises of the Lutheran Church in Manzini. Everyone was shocked beyond words even the deputy high commissioner of South Africa who stood in for the High Commissioner as she was forced to stand in the burning sun for well over two hours with the rest of mourners as the service was then held just outside the premises of the church.
This we take to be the worst insult that any African Government can offer to Mandela as a thank you for all the noble work he did for us Africans.We condemn His Majesty’s Government for being such an unjust Government and call upon every African to condemn this act of ungratefulness by this Undemocratic Government.
Otherwise we salute all who braved the sun, police wrath as well as that hostile environment to pay tribute to Mandela. May his spirit linger in history forever!!!!

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