Saturday, May 22, 2010


President of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) Mario Masuku was arrested by police in Swaziland for shouting the words ‘Viva PUDEMO’ at the funeral of democracy activist Sipho Jele.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network reports that this morning (22 May 2010) at about 5am, ‘hundreds’ of police attended the funeral. Last week police broke up the funeral because banners supporting PUDEMO were on display.

Today, the police did not try to break up the funeral, SSN reports. Instead, they took notes of what speakers at the funeral had to say. They also used a digital video camera to record the proceedings.

‘The environment was tense; last week’s events were still fresh on the minds of the people who had attended,’ SSN reports.

As people left the funeral to return to their homes they were confronted by police roadblocks. An eyewitness told SSN, ‘On our way back there was a road block, our car was following that of PUDEMO President [Mario Masuku] and his son.

‘About 50 cops ordered Mario to get into the police van which took him to police stations near Luyengo.

‘In fear that he might be tortured as well, we decided to drive with them to the police station. Many other comrades came, we waited outside the station.’

The witness continued, ‘After waiting since morning we were told that he allegedly committed a crime under the [Suppression of Terrorism Act] by shouting VIVA PUDEMO at the funeral.’

Masuku was released after several hours. He is expecting to be served with papers and to appear in court.

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