Latest news coming from Eswatini an African last absolute monarchy formerly known as Swaziland indicates that nurses no longer treat treat police officers as they accuse them of shooting colleagues during a pro-democracy rally on early this week.
The protest swept the country since June this year has left some internet services, such as Facebook, temporarily shut down this week in response to the unrest.
The government, which denies that security forces used live ammunition, has now banned all demonstrations.
“We have no reports of nurses being shot,” a government spokesperson said.
“Police are on the streets to maintain law and order, there is no willy-nilly shooting and Eswatini was a country founded on peace and dialogue.” He added.
Nurses were protesting on Friday at three hospitals according to a tweet shared video which it says shows nurses demonstrating at the Nhlangano Health Centre in the south of the country.
Earlier this week, health workers and other public sector employees, who went to deliver a petition to parliament demanding better living conditions, were met with an “unprecedented show of force”, according to Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SDNU)
“Thirty nurses were injured as the police and army opened fire and a young bystander was killed, the union.” she added
Describing the security forces as a “brood of vipers”, SDNU called on all nurses “in solidarity with the shot nurses not to treat a police official”.
Union president Welcome Mdluli acknowledged that this goes against the principle of treating everyone and said that his members were now scared of the police.
“We have reports of police shooting health care workers inside the hospital… we are scared of them,” he said.
Mr Mdluli now wants a guarantee from the ministry of health that nurses will be safe before the treatment boycott will end.
A delegation from the regional grouping, the Southern African Development Community, is currently in the country to meet King Mswati III, as well as some involved in the pro-democracy movement.
“Images that are coming from Eswatini are very disturbing indeed, and we can see that the political temperature is very hot,” Jeff Radebe, who is leading the delegation said.
In Eswatini, health workers have now also joined students, transport workers and others in a wave of protests calling for major constitutional reforms that will allow them to elect their own leaders.
Student protests led to the indefinite closure of all schools last week a move that was criticized by UN Secretary General António Guterres.