King Mswati III of Eswatini (Swazilandi) is reportedly on the run amid pro-democracy protests which turned violent following the government’s ban on marches, according to Swaziland News.
Protests had been taking place in eSwatini for several days now in at least 10 different areas of the Kingdom.
Police had reportedly used teargas in an attempt to disperse protesters, leading to injuries.
Swaziland is an absolute monarchy and it is the King who appoints government officials; the Prime Minister, ministers, judges and civil servants. 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 enforced last Thursday with the National Police Commissioner warning that breaches of the ban would be met with zero tolerance.
King Mswati III has also been criticized for his lavish lifestyle.
He is a polygamist with at least 15 wives and 23 children.
He was selected to be the next King at the age of 14 and was crowned King shortly after his 18th birthday in 1986.