Saturday, October 23, 2021

Police shoot, kill pro-democracy protestor in Eswatini

Police shot and killed a protester in Eswatini on Wednesday, the latest casualty in months of demonstrations that have killed more than a dozen people.

Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday that the man was killed during a clash between police and a group of commuter bus operators protesting for political reform in the small town of Malkern.

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Police Commissioner General William Tsintsibala Dlamini said, “A group of protesters shot a man in Malkern after stopping a truck carrying sand and (a) using it to block the road.”

“The officers came with guns and tried to reason with them, but they retaliated by throwing stones at them and then one of them was shot dead,” he told reporters.

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is the last absolute monarchy in Africa. The international community has criticized the country for using excessive force against protesters in the past few months. In June, at least 27 people were killed in clashes with police from civil society and opposition groups during demonstrations in the country’s largest cities of Manzini and Mbabane.

For months, residents have been demanding political reforms in the small state, most notably the release of two pro-democracy lawmakers arrested during summer protests. Large protests in July demanded that a new prime minister be elected by the people instead of the king.

Earlier this week, soldiers and police were deployed to schools across the country, as many high school students boycotted classes in protest.

Some information in this report has been received from the agency France-Presse.

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