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Rep. Bass Statement on Violent Protests in eSwatini

July 6, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement:

"I am discouraged to see the unfolding of violence against protestors in eSwatini by the King Mswati. The protests are rooted in the pure anger of the eSwatinis towards the monarch, and the people want constitutional reforms, including the legalization of political parties, the right to elect a prime minister who is accountable to the people, better public services, and an end to police brutality. 

"There are reports that the country’s security forces have fired gunshots, used tear gas, set roadblocks, and implemented curfews to deter violence in several parts of the country. The country should allow peaceful protestors to air grievances but any citizens who are destroying property and committing violence should be held accountable under the rule of law.

"King Mswati has maintained absolute power for over 30 years including over much of the country’s wealth, taking 25 percent of all mining deals in the country. Many citizens believe the disproportionate distribution of resources goes towards his extensive family of 15 wives and more than 30 children. I call for calm and restraint from all parties and urge the Government of eSwatini to let citizens peacefully protest and listen to the will of the people."