Student leaders in Swaziland / eSwatini say police detained and tortured seven students after a protest march in the capital, Mbabane. Three others were injured and needed hospital treatment.
The march was believed to be the first time that three of the kingdom’s universities had come together for a single protest.
They marched on Thursday (15 August 2019) to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to deliver a petition regarding the payment of allowances, scholarships for all admitted first year students and involvement of students in decision-making.
In a statement released on social media the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) said, ‘After the delivery on the way to the bus rank students and police clashed due to a minor misunderstanding and all hell broke loose as the police started bashing students with their batons.
‘Students ran helter-skelter around town and in the process dozens were injured with three being rushed to the Mbabane Government Hospital. Seven students were detained for over four hours and tortured, assaulted and humiliated.’
The marching students came from the University of Eswatini, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and the Eswatini Christian Medical University.
There is an ongoing dispute between students and the government in Swaziland over the payment of scholarships and allowances that cover fees, living expenses and items such as books. In May 2017, SNUS launched a campaign for scholarships for all. Students want all students admitted to higher learning institutions to have scholarships, regardless of the programme they are doing or the institution they are in.
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