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eSwatini introduces dust-to-dawn curfew in protests aftermath

The eSwatini government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew as part of measures to contain pro-democracy protests that have rocked the…

The eSwatini government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew as part of measures to contain pro-democracy protests that have rocked the southern African kingdom over the past few days.Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said in a statement on Tuesday that no one would be allowed on the streets between 6pm (1600 GMT) and 6am until further notice.

“In order to minimise unnecessary movement and ensure the safety and security of emaSwati and residents, government has taken the decision to introduce a curfew between 6pm to 6am with immediate effect,” Masuku said.

In addition, all offices are to close by 3.30pm daily “to allow workers to get home safely”, while “government has also taken the decision to suspend schools with immediate effect.”

“This has been done to protect the lives of children,” the acting premier said.

Although he attributed the measures to attempts by the eSwatini authorities to contain the spread of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the curfew and closure of schools comes against the background of violent protests that have saw pro-democracy activists clashing with the police this week in parts of the country.

The protesters destroyed property and looted shops in Matsapha town near the capital Mbabane on Monday.

According to Masuku, the protests “have been hijacked by criminal elements” and the eSwatini government was determined to bring order.

“Such cannot be acceptable under any circumstances. No one can hide behind a glass wall of grievances to administer harm to others and cause unrest and anarchy.”

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