The United States Embassy in Swaziland (eSwatini) is to stay closed on Wednesday (30 June 2021) in reaction to the civil unrest sweeping the kingdom and a curfew imposed by the Swazi Government.
In a ‘security alert’ published on social media it stated, ‘Civil unrest continues in eSwatini, including the burning and looting of stores, cars and businesses.’
Prodemocracy campaigners have been marching across the kingdom, especially in rural areas, delivering petitions at local government offices.
Swaziland is not a democracy and is controlled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the King appoints the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers. Groups advocating for democracy are outlawed under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
Last week Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku, speaking for the King, banned all protest demonstrations. This was largely ignored and protests continued. They want widespread political reforms and the right to elect their own Prime Minister.
On Tuesday (29 June 2021), Masuku announced a curfew from 6pm to 5am to take place with immediate effect.
Following this the US statement said, ‘All fights out of KM111 international airport have been suspended until further notice.’
It added, ‘Internet service is expected to degrade as Internet Service Providers have been told to shit down. Cell phone service is still available but data services (WhatsApp) will be spotty if existent at all.’
It added the US Embassy would remain closed through Wednesday 30 June 2021. Embassy staff have been directed to stay at home.
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