Swazis call for democracy on state of emergency anniversary

Last years April 12 protests that called for democratisation of Swaziland’s absolute monarchy, amongst other things by removing the state of emergency that has been in place since April 12 1973, were thwarted by countless road blockades, detainments and police violence.

Swaziland’s democratic movement insists that this year’s protests will be different, however. “From the 11th of April till the 13th we shall be occupying all the streets of our country as freedom fighters in defence of what belongs to us, the people,” banned political party the People’s United Democratic Movement says in a press statement.

“There is nothing that can stop us,” the Swaziland United Democratic Front – an umbrella organisation of all progressive democratic forces in Swaziland – says in another press statement. “From the 11 to 13 of April this week, we will flood the streets of all major towns in full cry for a people’s government.”

And unlike last year, King Mswati III’s regime has seemingly chosen to “not to help fuel this uprising by staging endless roadblocks”, according to a statement from the South African based Swaziland Solidarity Network, who insist on that Swazis “not stop until the basic demands are met.”

“It is important that all Swazis who are fighting for democracy realise that this should not end up being a mere yearly routine. The Syrian public have shown the world what sacrifice need to be made if this popular mode of struggle is adopted. We expect no less from the Swazi people.”

And the people of Swaziland should not loose sight of what they are fighting for, states the Swaziland United Democratic Front. “Ever since 12 April 1973 the nation was unreasonably and illegally deprived of its natural right to determine its destiny. The banning of political parties and usurpation of all political powers to the office of the monarchy laid the bases of the current socio-economic and political quagmire as a nation we now have been plunged into.”

Read more:

Swaziland: uprising in the slip-stream of North Africa

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