26 April 2011

Swaziland: King Mswati III Faces Royal Wedding Protest in London

Photo: Nadia Neophytou
Protesters in London want the royal wedding invitation of King Mswati III of Swaziland withdrawn.

Human rights activists and southern African exiles, organised by the Swaziland Vigil, are planning to protest outside one of London's most expensive hotels this evening to condemn the decision to invite King Mswati III to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The Swaziland Vigil co-ordinator Thobile Gwebu said: "King Mswati is making our country a laughing stock but the brutal action taken against recent anti-government demonstrations shows how bad the situation in Swaziland really is. We would love it if the British government withdrew his invitation to attend the wedding because he is such a bad example to any young couple."

The Swazi protesters will be supported by members of the Zimbabwe Vigil who are unhappy at King Mswati's support for President Robert Mugabe.

An organisation of Swaziland women has joined the protest by launching an online petition to stop the country's monarch attending the wedding in the United Kingdom.

The online petition, reported on by Swazi Media, says "Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence of any in the world and the lowest life expectancy rate but has no money to deal with these issues."

"The King of Swaziland is an absolute monarch who bans political parties and has ignored international law on women and children’s rights. We support the concerns of international human rights groups who have questioned the trip, particularly in relation to its cost and the ongoing crisis in Swaziland," the statement says.

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