Swazi students demand scholarships, democracy

2012-03-26 13:17

Students in Swaziland demanding democracy and scholarships are marching in their capital.

Today’s peaceful protest drew about 500 people, who were closely watched by police. Last year, police used water cannon, tear gas, beatings and arrests to put down much larger demonstrations.

Swaziland has been in a financial crisis that government officials blame on declining customs revenue. Government critics say the problem is corruption and misspending.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarchy has cut spending on tuition subsidies and school supplies and has taken other steps to rein in its budget.

A Swazi pro-democracy movement has tried to channel anger over the economy into a campaign for political reform, but many Swazis revere the monarchy.

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