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Cops fire tear gas at Global Week protesters

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MBABANE - The second day of the Global Week of Action on Swaziland was full of action as the police had to fire tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse protesters in Mbabane yesterday.

The day’s programme of the protest was spearheaded by students from various tertiary institutions around the country under the leadership of the executive committee of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS).

Their mission was to deliver petitions at the Ministries of Labour and Social Security and Education and Training.

Police arrested and detained one of the students, Mxolisi Ngcamphalala, at the Mbabane Police Station.

Police also seized a banner belonging to the Swaziland National Union of Students which was being carried by the protesting students along the streets of the capital city.

The confrontation between police officers and students ensued next to Four Square building where they were singing and chanting political slogans in the middle of the road.

The police officers led by Mbabane Station Commander Mathunjwa negotiated with the students, asking them to peacefully move on as they were disturbing motorists and other road users in the central business district.

The students then marched to the bus rank where again they began singing and chanting political slogans in front of the Swazi Plaza.

The police shut the entrance leading to shops at the plaza and at exactly 12:45pm the police again issued an order that the students should leave the bus rank and head for the ministries where they intended to deliver the petitions.

The students heeded the instructions and marched on the road leading to the government offices and it was next to the Fire and Emergency Services offices in Mbabane that the contingent of police officers began firing tear gas canisters towards them.

They also assaulted them with batons.

Even innocent members of the public were caught in the crossfire.

A woman who claimed she had been on her way to the Mbabane Government Hospital was injured.

As a result of the beating, the students ran helter-skelter. Some of them ran as far as the Industrial Sites where they hid inside some of the shops. The police ran after them and dragged some of them out of the shops.

No casualties were reported by the time of compiling this report.

Police PRO, Superintendent Wendy Hleta, confirmed that police had to use tear gas to disperse the protesters who were disturbing members of the public and business around the city.

 

"The police took one of the protesters for the purpose of warning him, but he was later released after he was warned. No one else was arrested other than the one who was warned and later released," she said.

Students Union leader evades arrest at bus rank

 

MBABANE – There was drama at the Mbabane Bus Rank when police officers attempted to arrest leader of the Swaziland National Union of Students, Maxwell Dlamini.

The close to 300 students had gathered at the entrance of the Swazi Plaza where they were singing and chanting political songs when a senior officer summoned Dlamini. The police officer told the students that they wanted to have a word with Dlamini as he was the leader of the protest action.

The students, however, refused and said the police should address all of them as they suspected that they wanted to detain Dlamini.

He later disappeared and it was later gathered that the police wanted to arrest him as they felt he was the one inciting the other students.

When the police officers started assaulting the students, Dlamini was nowhere to be seen and he was reported to have boarded a kombi to Manzini in a bid to evade arrest.

‘Limping’ SNAT not part of action - Sibongile

 

 

MBABANE – SNAT President, Sibongile Mazibuko, has come out to clarify that the association she heads is not part of the ongoing Global Week of Action on Swaziland.

Mazibuko said this in an interview yesterday.

She said the statement made by the organisation’s secretary general on the issue on Monday had been overtaken by events.

She said Muzi Mhlanga had been out of the country, in Mauritius, and could not have been aware that the association took a resolution regarding this year’s Global Week of Action on Swaziland (GWAS).

"I want to apologise about the statement that was issued by our secretary general. He was away and may not have been aware of our stand. We took a resolution that we cannot be part of GWAS," Mazibuko said.

This publication yesterday reported that SNAT would also participate in this year’s GWAS. These reports were confirmed by Mhlanga, the Secretary General of the association.

Mazibuko said they could not be part of GWAS because they were still negotiating with government on a lot of outstanding issues.

"It should not seem we were abusing the traditional structures and the tradition itself, we were serious," Mazibuko exclaimed.

She continued: "We communicated this to TUCOSWA through our executive and TUCOSWA was comfortable with our resolution. TUCOSWA heard our issue. SNAT is limping and cannot participate in the week of action."

Mazibuko warned teachers that they were not expected to participate in GWAS.

 

 

 

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