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Swaziland communists refuse to be intimidated as police open fire on rally

THE Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) has vowed to continue its series of summer rallies despite a group of activists being shot at by police over the weekend. 

The party condemned the attack on its members and supporters as they gathered at the Sunset Rally in Mahwalala, about 2.5 miles outside the capital Mbabane. 

According to the communists, police stormed the peaceful event on Saturday night, firing live bullets.  

Participants stood their ground and forced them to back down.  

No deaths or injuries were reported, the CPS said. 

Sunset rallies are night rallies led by the CPS and call for democratic reforms in Swaziland which is run by the autocratic monarch King Mswati III.

“Through the rallies, the CPS has managed to raise revolutionary consciousness among the masses as the party facilitates the formation of community councils, the basis for grassroots democracy,” the communists said. 

Under Mswati’s rule, all political parties, including the CPS, are banned and those protesting against his government are met with a brutal and violent response. 

He mobilised Swazi security forces against youth-led protests calling for democracy last year, ordering a “shoot-to-kill” policy.

Dozens were killed while hundreds were abducted and reportedly tortured as Mswati came under fire for his use of excessive force. 

The CPS has played a leading role in organising the democracy protests and has called for mass participation in what it describes as a “revolution” in Swaziland. 

It said today that its rallies would continue and the party would not be intimidated by Mswati’s security forces. 

“CPS activists are warmly welcomed by the people in every community,” the party said. “The people of Swaziland are taking direct responsibility for the revolution.”

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