19 September 2018

The Royal Eswatini Police (REP) following a command, has on this day the 19th day of September 2018 arrested and brutalized organizers and members of the union in Nhlangano.
Cde Sbonelo Tsabedze and Nhlanhla Tsabedze who are full-time organizers of the union were arrested today while coordinating workers who had assembled by the Zheng Yong gate this morning just after 07:00 hrs. The police had hoped that the arrest of the two would scare workers into submission but they got more than what they have bargain for as workers remained resolute that they will continue to support the protest action organized by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA).
The stance by the workers might have infuriated the police who resorted without and provocation to disperse teargas canisters in an effort designed to disorganize the well-organized workers. When the police noticed that the teargas was not yielding the desired result the police resorted to go after individual members of the union in order to bash them. We are receiving reports that a lot of our members are injured and running for their dear lives as they are hounded by a police force which act like a savage of wild dogs. We hope no one amongst workers would lose his / her precious life.
We are on course and we call on all our members to remain united despite the glaring attempts to disunite the workers. This battle is not for us alone but it is a battle that is fought by all workers of our land under the abled leadership of TUCOSWA. The protest action is protected in terms of Section 40 of the Industrial Relations Act and anyone who say otherwise is confused and drunk with borrowed power.
We call on government and the police to respect the right of the workers. It is tragic that those in corridors of power would want to go down with the whole nation. What else would government expect when the rights of the workers to protest are violated in this manner; do they expect that Swaziland would continue to benefit in the trade agreements that we fought very hard to retain or those in power are at a place where they do not care about anything but themselves?
We also call on government and the police to stop harassing and victimizing workers for exercising their rights to protest. We further make a call for release of our organizers and any other worker that might have been arrested during the course of the protected protest action.

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