Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Two trade unionists in Swaziland were arrested and beaten by police at a May Day rally.

They were arrested because they were holding a banner with markings of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), a labour organisation that is not recognised by the Swazi Government.

The Centre for Human Rights, Swaziland, reported the two men, ‘were violently arrested, beaten up and later released without charge by state police in Swaziland’.

The Centre named the two as Muzi Mhlanga, who is Secretary General of the Swaziland National Teachers’ Association (SNAT), and another member of the union identified only as ‘Oscar’.

The Centre said the two were arrested at a May Day rally in Manzini, the main commercial city in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

In a statement the Centre said the men, ‘were arrested after police pounced on toyi-toying workers who were carrying a banner with TUCOSWA markings’.

It added, ‘The two were taken to the Manzini Regional Police Headquarters where they were detained for two hours. They were later called into an office and asked what their business was at the police headquarters, to which they responded that they had not gone there voluntarily, but were brought in by the police.

‘According to Mhlanga, who was interviewed by the Centre after his release, five plain clothed police officers pounced on them as soon as the van delivered them at the regional headquarters.

‘Mhlanga was shoved to the floor, and beaten by these members of the law enforcement agency. During the fall he sustained injuries to his knees and face. During the interview, Mhlanga spotted a visibly swollen face, especially around his eyes. Oscar on the other hand sustained injuries while state police dragged him and threw him into the police van which sped off immediately. Ironically, no charges were preferred against the two.’

The Centre said the two would bring charges against the police officers.

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