30 June 2018

Swaziland: Two Critical After Police Attack

Two people are critically ill in hospital after police in Swaziland / Eswatini attacked demonstrators.

Police blocked an injured person from being taken for treatment, local media reported.

The Observer on Saturday reported two people were 'reported critical after some severe bashing from the no nonsense police security'.

It happened on Friday (29 June 2018) in the kingdom's capital Mbabane during a protest march to deliver a petition organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) against government policies.

The Observer reported, 'Majembeni Thobela, a security guard hired by the Swaziland Security Services, was one of the marchers who received the worst beatings and was reportedly left unconscious.'

It added, 'Thobela was severely beaten by the police using batons, kicks and fists in a confrontation which was started by disagreements on which route to take when going to deliver their petition to the Deputy Prime Minister's Offices.

'Police reacted to the confrontation by spraying water on the marchers using their water cannon.

'Thobela was left covered with blood on his face from head injuries.'

The Observer reported, 'Police watched a helpless Thobela as he talked until he collapsed in front of their line.

'First aid was later applied to him by other marchers immediately after the confrontation had calmed.'

The Swazi News reported, 'the protestors had to push and shove the police who were blocking them from taking the injured man into the ambulance'.

The Observer reported, 'The police did not even bother to rush their victim to hospital despite that he was oozing blood and lay on the floor.'

It added, 'As the pushing and shoving for passage to the DPM's office ensued, a police casspir water tanker started to spray the protestors and followed with stun grenades when they saw that the marchers retaliated with stones.'

The marchers ran for safety, 'with police heavy on their pursuit beating everyone on sight with batons'.

The Observer reported, 'Other marchers were cornered and severely assaulted by the police.'

Gcebile Ngcamphalala is reported to have suffered a fracture when she was whipped by officers whilst trying to jump over a fence.

Reuters and AFP news agenices reported police using rubber bullets and stun grenades against the protestors.

Swaziland Police spokesperson Assistant Superintend Phindile Vilakati confirmed the incident which left Thobela oozing with blood, but denied the injury was caused by police.

The Observer reported Vilakati saying Thobela's injury was as a result of the flying stones from the marchers.

'We don't carry stones, but batons. This was an unfortunate incident caused by marchers failing to adhere to the agreed route. We are at times forced to use minimum force to enforce compliance with the rules,' she said.

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