18 September 2008
Swaziland police block pre-election protest
Police in Swaziland, one of the world's last absolute monarchies, have detained several union leaders and blocked others from a pre-election protest to demand democratic reform.
Swazi authorities say the protest would cause anarchy in the country the day before a parliamentary election. Armed police pulled labour activists from buses and cars at a roadblock en route to a border crossing with South Africa, taking union leaders into vans and sending others back to the capital Mbabane.
Meanwhile, commenting on the arrest of various Swazi protesters, SA Communist Party spokesperson, Malesela Maleka, says the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union should ensure that Swaziland adheres to democratic principles.
Maleka added that it was shameful that the arrests took place when King Mswati III was the head of the SADC organ on politics, safety and defence. � Additional reporting by Sapa