Police arrest the Democracy Campaign leaders in Swaziland

Police today disrupted a seminar at Tum’s George Hotel in Manzini, Swaziland. The meeting was held by the Swaziland Democracy Campaign and was to be about the history of the democratic movement in Swaziland. There were around 60 participants at the meeting who were met by around 100 police officers, who demanded to have the names of all foreign participants at the meeting. These included three members of Danish organisation Africa Contact‘s Swaziland group and several people from South Africa, including representatives from the South African Municipality Workers Union, Public Services International, and Cosatu among others. The participants of the meeting defied this order from the police, and instead started singing struggle songs, one of which proclaimed that “we want mulitiparty democracy” in seSwati. Soon after most of the foreign delegation bolted out of the back door thereby evading the police. At this time police were already beginning to arrest members of the rest of the delegation. At 3.30 most of the organisers of the weeks event had been arrested and been brought away by the police for questioning. The arrests come after heavy intimidation by the Swazi police of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign, including threats of holding the leadership responsible for any incidents, however small, during the week of global action.

For more  information, contact:

Morten Nielsen, Africa Contact +268 76868349

Venitia Govender, Swaziland Democracy Campaign in South Africa +27 822223074

Links:

50 arrested ahead of Swaziland democracy protests, Wikinews, 8 September 2010

Dozens arrested ahead of Swazi protests, ACTSA, 7 September 2010

Swaziland: Dozens Arrested at Peaceful Democracy Assembly, ITUC, 7 September 2010

Swaziland: 50 arrested over protest, Africa News, 7 September 2010

London demo for Swazi democracy, Swazi Media Commentary, 7 September 2010

Swaziland bars foreign reporters, Swazi Media Commentary, 7 September 2010

Swazi authorities arrest 50 rights activists, Amnesty says, Bloomberg Business Week, 6 September 2010

TUC condemns arrests of Swaziland and South African trade union democracy demonstrators, TUC, 6 September 2010

Police arrest the Democracy Campaign leaders in Swaziland, AfricaFiles, 6 September 2010

Arrested Swazi leaders update, Swazi Media Commentary, 6 September 2010

Number of Swazi arrests up to 50, Swazi Media Commentary, 6 September 2010

Democracy supporters deported, Swazi Media Commentary, 6 september 2010

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