Police Shoot, Kill Pro-Democracy Protester in Eswatini

Police shot a protester to death Wednesday in Eswatini, the latest casualty in months of demonstrations that have left more than a dozen people dead.

Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday that the man was killed during a clash between police and a group of commuter bus operators demonstrating for political reform in the small town of Malkerns.

“A man was shot at Malkerns after a group of protesters stopped a truck carrying sand and used it to block (a) road,” said William Tsintsibala Dlamini, the police commissioner general.

“Officers came with guns and tried to reason with them, but they retaliated by throwing stones at them, and that is when one of them was shot dead,” he told reporters.

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is Africa’s last absolute monarchy. The international community has criticized the country over the past few months for its use of excessive force against protesters. In June, at least 27 people were killed when civil society and opposition groups clashed with police during demonstrations in Manzini and Mbabane, the country’s largest cities.

For months, residents have been demanding political reforms in the small kingdom, specifically calling for the release of two pro-democracy lawmakers arrested during protests over the summer. Large protests in July demanded that the new prime minister be selected by the people instead of the king.

Earlier this week, soldiers and police were deployed to schools across the country, as many high school students have boycotted classes in conjunction with the protests.

Source: Voice of America