Heavily-armed state forces stopped students in Swaziland from marching on government to protest about the non-payment of tuition fees and scholarships.
More than 100 students today (16 August 2012) gathered at the University of Swaziland campus in the kingdom’s capital Mbabane, but they were blocked from leaving for about four hours by police and prison wardens. Eventually the students gave up and went home.
The students hoped to march on the Labour and Social Security to deliver a petition concerning a continuing scholarship crisis.
The students resolved to continue a class boycott that started this week until the Swaziland Government pays all tuition fees and allowances for government-sponsored students. No first year students have received sponsorships this year.
The students are also demanding that all first year and transferring students be allowed to register by the university pending government’s response to the demands.
The Centre for Human Rights and Development, Swaziland, reported, ‘The University of Swaziland which opened in the beginning of this week has been marred with protests and class boycotts which have disturbed the beginning of lectures. The students’ protest action follows many other similar activities by civil servants and teachers who demand a salary increase from the cash stripped Swaziland government. Protesters have been met with violence and brutality in most of these protest activities.’