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Pro-democracy group calls on S Africa to intervene in Eswatini

dpa
Maseru/Nairobi
The Swaziland Solidarity Network on Sunday called on the South African government to intervene in neighbouring Eswatini, where they say political tensions “have gone beyond boiling point.”
“I am not a prophet, but the people of Swaziland want democracy or nothing,” Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson for the group, which has been supporting the pro-democracy movement since 1983, told dpa.
His comments come after a strike and protests against the rule of King Mswati III by school pupils and public transport workers caused havoc in the tiny southern African kingdom last week.
On Friday the government reportedly closed down the internet for a several hours before on Saturday announcing the indefinite closure of all schools.
“That is a way to try and quell the protests,” said Lukhele, adding that South Africa should send in security forces before the people “render the country ungovernable.” Fuel shortages in the kingdom have also been reported.
“Things are tough,” one motorist told dpa. “If these protests continue to next week, we might have a food crisis soon. Trucks will fear the risk of being burnt.”
The kingdom formerly known as Swaziland was renamed the Kingdom of Eswatini in 2018.
The landlocked country has under 1.2 million residents, and borders Mozambique and South Africa.
Since June, there have been repeated protests against the king’s rule and clashes between police and demonstrators.
Mswati has been criticized for his decadent lifestyle in stark contrast to the widespread poverty experienced by much of the population.
Dissent in the kingdom is almost impossible, however, as political parties have been banned since 1973.

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