Teachers Protesting at SNAT HQ this Week Pro-democracy demonstrators in Swaziland including many teachers are suffering attacks and arrests from security forces Teachers and other trade unionsts went on strike last month against massive budget cuts which would involve public service pay being cut by up to 10%, under conditions where the pay is already very low. These cuts are being driven by the economic crisis and by the International Monetary Fund which the Swazi government has called in to help them deal with the crisis. While the King of Swaziland enjoys a lavish lifestyle including many palaces and expensive cars 40% of the population are unemployed and two thirds live below the poverty line. The demonstrations earlier this week were a follow up to the strike. 1000 teachers gathered in the headquarters of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) headquarters when they were prevented from reaching Freedom Square in Manzini by riot police. Police were also stopping buses coming towards Manzini and breaking up groups of two or more people. Riot police subsequently attacked the headquarters of SNAT and dispersed the demonstrators. Teachers' and students' leaders are among those who have been arrested by security forces. The following comes from Swaziland Commentary: "The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) offices were raided yesterday at around 12:30 pm by close to 20 police officers and the staff officers of the federation were assaulted. We report today that; the Deputy Secretary General of the Swaziland Processing and Allied workers union, Comrade Wonder Mkhonta, Comrade Ntombie Langwenya, of Swaziland National Association of Teachers, women’s wing committee and Comrade Moses Buthelezi have been arrested and they are detained in Hlathikhulu Police station" The following is a statement from the Swaziland Democracy Campaign: 
"The Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) and Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) are outraged at the continuing repression being meted out to those organisations making up the democratic constituency in Swaziland on the second day of their campaign for justice. Reports that leading trade unionists and other activists have been re-arrested, forced underground, subjected to bullying tactics and having their peaceful and completely legitimate meetings disrupted and criminalised. To emphasise on this situation, reports have just been received that a meeting of SNAT is currently being surrounded by armed security personnel, and the likelihood of further attacks is imminent." As well as battling the government and IMF driven policies of making public services pay for the economic crisis, people in Swaziland have been inspired by the pro-democracy protests in North Africa over the past weeks. There have been demonstrations in their support by trade unioniosts in South Africa. For a series of pictures of events in Swaziland go to this link: http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2011-04-14-fiery-protests-rock-swaziland/