Does This Image Show the Recent Protests in Eswatini?

A few days after pro-democracy protesters took to the streets, this tweet was shared on June 30, 2021, showing a group of protesters and burning tyres containing claims that this was the situation in Eswatini. This image was shared under the hashtag #EswatiniProtests containing similar claims.


To resolve these protests, King Mswati III scheduled a meeting, on September 16, 2021. However, it is reported that there are opposing forces calling for a boycott of this meeting. Some of the concerns directed to this meeting highlight a third wave of the COVID-19 being experienced by a number of countries.  

Eswatini protests, just like #EndSARS in Nigeria were marred with cases of police brutality. These protests are said to have sparked outrage against the killing of Thabani Nkomonye, a law student from Swaziland, in May 2021. Similar cases have been reported before. 

In this fact check, Piga Firimbi looked into the legitimacy of a letter, reportedly shared by Eswatini’s government. In this letter, the government is falsely claimed to have declared war on protesters.


Results from a reverse image search show that the image was featured in an article by the Swazi Observer on September 20, 2018. This was during a national strike over poor pay and poor working conditions by workers. These protests took place in major towns, including Mbabane, Manzini, Nhlangano and Siteki. (See screengrab below). 

On the same day, Swaziland Human Rights Watch published an article on these protests, with this image. (See screen-grab below). 

A screenshot from the Swaziland Human Rights Watch website


This image was NOT taken during the recent protests in Swaziland. 


This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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