September 24, 2021

As the protests intensified, dozens of people were tortured and killed in Eswatini

The Denver Eswatini nation is experiencing brutal repression in response to the democratic protests that began earlier this week. According to reports by Amnesty International, attacks by government forces have killed dozens of Emaswati and have led to widespread torture and kidnapping.

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a small landlocked country bordering South Africa and Mozambique. The country is often referred to as “Africa’s last autocratic monarchy” and is one of the most restrictive governments in Africa. After years of anger against King Mswati III,
protests have recently started. According to the protesters, the king did not implement any “significant reform … towards a democratic direction” for the people of Eswatini.

Today, King Mswati III has effectively controlled the country’s legislation, justice, military and regional government by appointing loyal tribal leaders.

As calls for change grew louder this week, government security forces responded with brutal repression, leading to the death of “at least 20 people” and the hospitalization of at least 150 protesters for injuries, sources in the country reported. . An unknown number of 4,444 protesters were also detained and tortured by the security forces. A shop worker in Liswati reported that while walking through the streets of the capital, Mbabane, he heard “the smell of gunfire and tear gas” nearby, and “the presence of a powerful riot police and an army.

“Acting Prime Minister Demba Zengcheng announced the implementation of curfews and the closure of schools across the country to quell the violence and demanded “calm, restraint and peace” from the people. He also refuted rumors that King Mswati III fled the country for South Africa when the violence escalated earlier this week.
Many NGOs asked the Eswatini government for peace and restraint. Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director of Eastern and Southern Africa Affairs, urged the authorities to “end this growing repression and ensure that people can peacefully exercise their human rights … without fear of violent reprisals.

“The South African government also stated that it is “particularly concerned by reports of loss of life due to the crackdown.” According to South African media reports, many South African activists are calling on the South African government to close its embassy in Eswatini in order to more strongly condemn the government’s support for the ongoing attacks against the Eswatini people.

 

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