Three shot in factory unrest

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By Neo Kolane

At least three people are reported to have been shot when members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) opened fire on protesting textile factory workers at Ha Thetsane yesterday.

This followed an altercation which saw employees of Sun Textiles picketing outside the factory’s premises after they were denied entry because of a power outage that started yesterday.

The workers told theReporter that management told them to go home at 10:00am yesterday when the factory experienced power supply problems. When they reported for duty today, they were met with a similar order, this time coming from security guards at the entrance.

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Incensed at the prospect of losing out on vital income in the form of wages, and that management was not communicating the real problem with them, the workers expressed their frustration by blockading the road with burning trash. This is what prompted police to open fire, shooting two female workers and a male vendor.

As if this was the cue they were waiting for, employees of nearby factories staged pickets of their own, demanding better working conditions and improved pay. 

Attempts to get a comment from Sun Textile management were unsuccessful as the security guards denied this publication entry into the factory.

Police at the scene of the unrest declined to talk to us.