Ten arrests in violent demo

2010-03-16 00:00

TEN students from the Durban University of Technology’s Indumiso campus in Imbali were arrested after they allegedly damaged a car and pelted the police with stones during a violent protest at the campus yesterday.

An estimated 800 students protesting the escalating price of food that they say is of questionable quality at the campus cafeteria rampaged through the campus, damaging the roof and windscreen of a car parked on the premises.

A source at the campus said the strike began on Friday morning after their complaints about food quality and costs had fallen on deaf ears with the management of the university.

“On Thursday there was a meeting and the students resolved to demonstrate against the cafeteria because the food they sell there is very expensive and it is also of questionable standard.”

She said on Friday, while they were protesting, the police arrived and squashed that protest. The protest resumed yesterday morning.

“The students had locked the gate because they were trying to prevent any lectures from taking place,” said the source.

A security company arrived and allegedly started shooting at the students and beating them up. The source said most of the students fled to their residences, but others were cornered by the police and security company.

“They dragged me out of the toilets, where I was hiding,” continued the source.

The source said the institution was taking it lightly that the food they were being fed is not of a good standard.

“The cafeteria is our only source of food, and since it’s now closed, we cannot eat.”

Nkosi Ngubane, a member of the SRC at the university, said when the police and the security company arrived there, they started shooting and throwing tear gas.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Jay Naicker said the arrested suspects would appear in court shortly. “Ten suspects aged between 18 and 25 were subsequently arrested and charged for public violence and malicious damage to property.”

Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said rubber bullets struck one student in the head and another in the abdomen.

SABC radio reported that the campus has been closed until Thursday.

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