When protests break out near American Embassies, the United States has a couple of choices. They can pull everyone out of the building and leave, or they can send in troops to defend it and the U.S. citizens inside.
Marine Security Unit
When protests erupted in Eswatini, 13 Marines from Quantico were sent to the U.S. Embassy as additional support to the security personnel that was already onsite.
The small group of Marines is a part of the Marine Security Augmentation Unit. The unit was created after the Benghazi attack in 2012 that killed four Americans from the U.S. embassy.
Eswatini is the 106th mission for this unit. They have been all over, including to the Middle East for the first anniversary of the Benghazi attack.
They were in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2013-2014 when they had political unrest, and the unit was deployed to Paris, France, in 2017 at the start of the Yellow Vest Movement.
The monarchy has been experiencing “daily pro-democracy marches,” according to the United Nations. The marchers want to be able to elect a prime minister.
The unrest has been going on since May and was triggered by the murder of a law student. According to the Guardian, how the law student was killed “suggested police involvement.”
People throughout the area are on the “brink of hunger” while their out-of-touch monarch, King Mswati III, lives an overindulgent lifestyle. While protestors try to petition their Parliament members, the government changed the method, banning all “in-person delivery of petitions.”
They now require them to be sent in via email. This action, of course, angered the people further, contributing to more protests, leading the small country to hit rock bottom.
So far, 27 citizens have died in the protests, that the government will acknowledge. The other side says the number is much higher.
The UN is cognizant of the situation in the country, including the “unnecessary use of force.” There also have been claims that the security forces for the monarchy have shot live rounds into the groups of protesting citizens.
The UN also acknowledged that the government is using information suppressing techniques like internet blackouts. The U.S. Marines are there to provide additional security to the U.S. personnel and protect information and equipment belonging to the U.S.