Teachers, government accountants, and public transport workers held a protest in Manzini on Wednesday, October 2, to demand better salaries as well as a cost of living adjustment. Protesters reportedly threw stones at police officers who eventually responded with tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets. According to participants, several arrests were made. Further such protests are likely to take place in the coming days as protesters vowed to "continue the fight for democracy."
A heightened security presence is expected around all protest sites, along with localised traffic disruptions. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely. Disruptions to business operations are also possible during protests.
A related strike and protest were held across the country between September 23-25.
Public sector unions organized a nationwide strike in January 2019 to call for the government to open negotiations for salary cost-of-living adjustments. Union leaders are demanding an increase to compensate for a stagnant average wage over the past three years.
Individuals in Eswatini are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence and transportation disruptions near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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