DUT shut after demo

2009-03-04 00:00

ACADEMIC activities have been suspended for the remainder of the week at all Durban University of Technology (DUT) campuses after police fired rubber bullets at protesting students at the Indumiso campus in Imbali yesterday.

Protests intensified last Friday when Durban students, including members of the representative council (SRC), were arrested for holding members of management hostage over complaints about accommodation.

DUT obtained a final court interdict restraining the SRC from demonstrating within 100 metres of any DUT campus, assaulting or intimidating students and staff and damaging property.

Five students appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Inspector Joey Jeevan said police were called in yesterday after a crowd of about 600 students burnt tyres, blocking the road.

“After numerous requests from the police to disperse, the protesters refused to comply and began stoning the police. Police were then forced to fire rubber bullets, after which the crowd dispersed. There were no injuries reported,” Jeevan said.

Nhlanhla Skhakhane, who is in charge of the SRC’s media and publicity in Pietermaritzburg, said he was one of the many injured.

He said that what was meant to be innocent chants before classes in solidarity with the five arrested students turned violent when police attacked them.

“We were chanting outside campus and police came and asked us to move inside on to the university grounds. We complied, and were surprised when police started firing and brutalising students, even girls.”

While police denied it had caused injuries, ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said six people were treated for minor to moderate injuries, and one person was taken to Medi Clinic. Fifteen students were taken in for questioning and later released, police said.

DUT’s executive director of corporate affairs, Nomonde Mbadi, said the suspended activities cover lectures, tests, examinations and access to libraries.

Only students in residence are allowed on campus, said Mbadi. “But the university remains open for other activities that don’t involve students and all university staff are required on campus during this period.”

Jeevan said police are investigating a case of public violence.

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