King Mswati III orders immediate closure of schools amid fresh pro-democracy protests

King Mswati III, head of state of eSwatini. File photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP

Cape Town – eSwatini’s King Mswati III has ordered the immediate and indefinite closure of schools in the kingdom amid pro-democracy protests which have flared up in the country.

According to local media in eSwatini, the shutting of schools comes after students and pupils boycotted lessons and called for free schooling, as well as an end to Mswati’s rule.

eSwatini, previously Swaziland, is Africa’s last absolute monarchy. The country, which is completely landlocked by South Africa, has been rocked by a wave of unprecedented violent pro-democracy protests which rolled across the country in June.

Police shot a protester dead on Wednesday, October 13, the latest casualty in months of demonstrations that have left more than a dozen people dead.

Authorities have once again restricted the country’s internet services, leaving most social media applications down, while the army has been deployed across the country to quell tensions.

Mswati blasted pro-democracy advocates recently, saying they are drunk and smoke dagga.

According to Swaziland News, hospitals are flooded with victims, with more than 20 protesters having been shot and four people reportedly killed.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said on Friday that the people of Swaziland were fed up with Mswati and the numerous international bodies which continue to treat him with kid gloves and allow him to massacre his own citizens.

Human rights advocacy group Amnesty International South Africa on Thursday, October 14, criticised authorities in eSwatini for allowing schools to be overrun by the army following pro-democracy protests led by high school pupils.

African News Agency (ANA)