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Swazi forces stamp out teacher protests.

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The president of the Swaziland teachers union said it is scrapping pro-democracy protests after police beat, threatened and fired water cannons and tear gas at teachers

Sibongile Mazibuko, said yesterday that police were locking teachers in vans and jailing them for treason if they catch them standing in groups of more than three.

Mazibuko, the union chief, who was released after being detained all day was in hiding following the incident. On Tuesday, police chased more than 500 teachers out of a private centre where they had gathered to protest.

In recent weeks, an online campaign has tried to rally support for the protests, which come 38 years after the current Swazi king's father, King Sobhuza II, banned political parties and abandoned the country's constitution.

Simantele Mmema, of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, said police dispersed 1,000 workers who were chanting peacefully in a teacher's training centre in Manzini calling for better conditions

Swazi activists said police arrested nine labour and pro-democracy leaders on Tuesday.

With political parties banned, the labour movement has become a key platform for pro-democracy activists.

The US Embassy said Swaziland's response raised concerns and called for restraint.

This article was originally published by www.7days.ae.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Article Type:Reprint
Date:Apr 14, 2011
Words:226
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