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King Mswati III reportedly flees country amid pro-democracy protests

By U.S. Department of State -, Public Domain,

King Mswati III of Eswatini has reportedly fled the country amid pro-democracy protests which turned choatic following the government’s ban on marches.

Pro-democracy protests had been taken place in eSwatini for several days now in at least 10 different places. Police had reportedly used teargas and live ammunition in an attempt to disperse protesters, leading to injuries. The King rules the country as an absolute monarch and it is he who chooses the Prime Minister, ministers, judges and civil servants. The protesters have been calling for political reforms and wish to elect their own Prime Minister. Political parties have been banned in the country since 1973.

“We demand multi-party democracy now,” protester Melusi Dlamini told News24. “The time for the royal system characterised by dictatorship is over.”

The government’s ban on protests was instituted last Thursday with the National Police Commissioner giving out the warning that breaches of the ban would be met with zero tolerance.

King Mswati III has also been criticized for his lavish lifestyle and alleged human rights violations. He is a well-known polygamist with at least 15 wives and 23 children. He was selected to be the next King at the age of 14 and he was crowned King shortly after his 18th birthday in 1986.