Eswatini govt defends king after security forces clash with protestors

Tensions boiled over after security personnel clashed with protesting school pupils and civil society organisations, resulting in government shutting down schools indefinitely as the country faces a fresh wave of pro-democracy protests.

FILE: King Mswati III of eSwatini, at Loftus Stadium for the inauguration of Cyril Ramaphosa as the sixth democratically elected president. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Eswatini government has defended King Mswati III, insisting that he did nothing wrong after the country's security forces clashed with protestors.

Tensions boiled over after security personnel clashed with protesting school pupils and civil society organisations resulting in government shutting down schools indefinitely as the country faces a fresh wave of pro-democracy protests.

Eswatini spokesperson to the king, Percy Simelane, has defended the monarch, saying that these “so-called pro-democracy people" were the ones causing mayhem in the county.

"The king is not involved in daily preparations. The so-called peaceful protesters were pelting the police with stones. There was a lot of looting of businesses and also smashing of cars and trucks."

The Swaziland Solidarity Network in Eswatini said that South Africa could also bear the brunt of the widespread protests if they did not assist in quelling the tension.

"South Africa doesn't have the luxury of sitting down and keeping quiet. They need to go into Swaziland as a monitor. In terms of business, South Africa is the one that will suffer most because 70% of business comes from South Africa and almost 90% of goods that are in Swaziland comes from South Africa or via South Africa, even those goods coming from the Asian market."

At least 28 people have died as police clashed with protesters in some of the worst unrest seen in the country.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.