Africa’s last absolute monarchy, Eswatini on Tuesday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew as soldiers were deployed to stop protests.
Protests are rare in Eswatini, a small landlocked state formerly called Swaziland.
But recent weeks have seen violent demonstrations in parts of the country despite the legal ban on political parties with the opposition reporting scores of people injured, many hospitalized.
More than 250 protesters have been injured with gun wounds, broken bones, and shock
The king is Africa’s only absolute monarch and one of the few remaining in the world with unfettered political power over his 1.3 million people and ruling by decree,
Crowned in 1986 when he was just 18, the king has come under fire for his lavish spending while most inhabitants live below the poverty line.
The Country’s Communist Party said in a statement that Eswatini is “at a crucial point in the long struggle to get rid of the autocratic monarchy”,
“The people… have had enough. This is the tipping point.”
While addressing the incident, The Acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku said in a statement.”The events of the past few days have been quite alarming and upsetting,”
He added that “we have witnessed violence in several parts of the country perpetuated by an unruly crowd where people have been attacked, property destroyed,” “security forces are on the ground to maintain law and order”.
But the government cited rising coronavirus cases as it imposed a 6pm to 5am curfew.
Witnesses in the two capitals Manzini and Mbabane reported seeing soldiers patrolling the streets where protesters have been burning tyres and stoning cars.
A Manzini resident said she and colleagues were holed up in the restaurant where they worked and were unable to return home.
“Helicopters are extinguishing the fires lit on the roads,” People had been looting a furniture store and on Monday some shops were burned down she said.
According to several sources shops were ransacked and torched overnight in Matsapha, an industrial hub on the western edge of Manzini,
Spokesman for the pro-democracy grouping, Lucky Lukhele said “the military is on the streets,” , Swaziland Solidarity Network
“Yesterday was the worst night ever, where a young man was shot point-blank by the army, and some are in hospital as we speak,” Lukhele charged.