Riot police in Swaziland blocked teachers from marching in the kingdom’s capital today (13 June 2012).
Thousands of members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) had assembled in Mbabane to protest for a pay increase of 4.5 percent. They wanted to march across the city and deliver a petition at the offices of the Prime Minister, Barnabas Dlamini.
The Centre for Human Rights in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reports, ‘The state responded by deploying its riot squad, ordinary police officers from the Royal Swaziland Police Force and personnel from His Majesty’s Correctional Services, who formed a barrier on the main street, ensuring that no protestor penetrated through.
‘The teachers were given a deserted route as an alternative route, and they declined to use it, forcing the state police to reinforce. Workers continued to toyi-toyi on the blocked street. At the time of compiling this report, no incident had been reported, even though the mood was visibly volatile.’