Bid for calm ahead of planned Swazi protests

AP News
Posted: Apr 08, 2011 3:48 PM
Bid for calm ahead of planned Swazi protests

Advisers to Swaziland's king are meeting with union leaders to try to defuse tension ahead of planned pro-democracy protests in sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarchy.

Neither side on Friday would disclose details of the talks. Mduduzi Gina, head of the kingdom's main labor federation, says reformists are pushing for the king to dissolve Cabinet to make way for new leadership.

Political parties are banned in Swaziland, leaving the labor movement as the opposition's main platform.

In recent weeks, an online campaign has tried to rally support for April 12 pro-democracy protests.

An anti-monarchy movement has gained momentum since the government declared a budget crisis and proposed freezing civil service wages. But many Swazis revere the monarchy.