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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 18:18 GMT
Three Swazi strike leaders arrested
Three organisers of a two-day strike in Swaziland calling for greater political freedoms have been arrested as the stay-away is partly observed.
Most schools and some factories are closed in the capital Mbabane and the industrial centre Manzini, but most offices, banks and shops opened as usual.
The strike, called for Monday and Tuesday, has been banned by a court order obtained by the government late on Sunday.
Trade union leaders are specifically objecting to a new law which makes workers liable for losses suffered as the result of industrial action.
Those arrested are a senior member of the civil servant's association and two members of the banned Swaziland Youth Congress.
The government recently re-introduced provisions enabling police to hold suspects for 60 days.
The strike follows a meeting of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) in neighbouring South Africa a week ago which endorsed calls to end Swaziland's ban on political activities
On Friday police arrested Mario Masuku, the leader of the banned People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo), on charges of uttering seditious statements against the king.
A correspondent for the BBC in Swaziland says the strike on Monday was less well-observed than recent action.
He said this is probably because of the government's action in banning the strike and re-introducing a 60-day detention law.
As a result of Swaziland's new new labour law, the United States has excluded it from some benefits under the recently passed Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.
The government is due to hold discussions with a visiting delegation from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) over Swaziland's worsening industrial relations.