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Brussels, 4 July 2018 (ITUC OnLine): More than 500 protestors at a peaceful march organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) last week were brutally dispersed by the police with rubber bullets and stun grenades, simply for raising workers’ demands.

 

The march was organised to deliver a petition to the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, calling for the introduction of a minimum wage, amendments to the employment act, forbidding the replacement of workers during strike action, banning of labour brokers, as well as demanding an end to abuses of sugarcane workers.

The police refused access to the main streets to demonstrators, and by using water cannon and tear-gas canisters prevented them from reaching the Deputy Prime Minister's office. They also attacked demonstrators with batons. Four members of TUCOSWA were severely injured and taken to hospital, while one was taken by the police for questioning and later released.

 

‘’We strongly denounce the brutal suppression of this peaceful demonstration. The government of eSwatini should fully align the Public Order Act with the provisions of ILO Convention 87 to ensure respect for freedom of association, and to follow the Code of Conduct which was developed with the assistance of the ILO,’’ said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

 

Swaziland is ranked 4 in the ITUC Global Rights Index

 

Read the protest letter send by the ITUC to the Prime Minister of eSwatini

 

See the video of the police shooting

 

The ITUC represents 207 million members of 331 affiliates in 163 countries and territories.

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