- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
- Detroit porch shooting trial: Suspect says he didn’t know gun was loaded
- U.S. Navy admiral ‘receptive’ to giving Chinese counterpart a tour of carrier
- Islamic State orders female genital mutilation for Mosul girls, U.N. says
Crackdown ends protest against Swaziland’s king
Rubber bullets, gas used; many arrested
Question of the Day
JOHANNESBURG | Forces loyal to Swaziland’s King Mswati III on Tuesday used water cannons and fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at pro-democracy demonstrators to break up a protest against sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Several thousand teachers, students and trade unionists had attempted a street march in Manzini, Swaziland’s second- biggest city, and many of them were arrested and held in custody late Tuesday.
Swazi police spokeswoman Wendy Hleta said that officers had been provoked when marchers threw stones at them. “They were compelled to shoot tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd,” she told the Associated Press.
Lucky Lukhele, spokesman for the Swaziland Solidarity Network that helped coordinate the protest from its office in neighboring South Africa, told The Washington Times that at least 300 people had yet to be released.
“The police crackdown is all inclusive and is no longer targeting obvious participants,” Mr. Lukhele said. “Ordinary people on the streets have also fallen victim.”
Officials stopped buses moving between towns, and cordoned off schools and the University of Swaziland to prevent teachers and students from leaving the campus.
Tuesday saw the latest in a series of protests that Swazi activists say are inspired by uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Protesters have demanded the abdication of King Mswati lll, whose 14 wives and lavish lifestyle have drawn criticism in a country where an estimated 60 percent of its 1.2 million people live on less than $2 per day.
The 43-year-old king has several palaces and a fleet of luxury cars, and his wives are accused of taking frequent shopping trips to Europe.
Swaziland has the world’s highest HIV infection rate, with more than a quarter of the population infected by the disease.
Meanwhile, an economic turndown in the kingdom has led to budget cuts and a threat to reduce the wages of government workers.
Tuesday’s demonstrations were largely confined to Manzini and did not spread to the royal capital of Lobamba or the administrative capital of Mbabane. The date, April 12, was chosen to commemorate the issuance of a 1973 decree in which Mswati’s father, King Sobuza ll, banned all political parties.
Swaziland’s monarch chooses the prime minister and has control over all political, legal and diplomatic appointments.
On Monday, the State Department cautioned against travel to Swaziland, and late Tuesday a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy at Mbabane called for restraint.
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Astronaut shares 'saddest photo' from space: Bombs bursting over Israel, Gaza
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare enrollees faking for freebies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq