MBABANE, Swaziland – Swaziland's king has fired a prominent defense official hours after 7,000 pro-democracy demonstrators protested in the capital.
King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, dismissed the official for failing to providing food to soldiers patrolling the borders.
His removal was announced by the prime minister late Friday. The move suggests the king may be trying to avoid the unrest that has roiled North Africa and forced other longtime rulers out of power.
The king, who has ruled for nearly a century, also warned soldiers to not to be disloyal, citing political turmoil in unnamed countries where soldiers have defected.
An anti-monarchy movement has gained momentum in Swaziland after last month's budget calls to freeze civil service salaries.