18 EC pupils held at protest

2010-09-21 13:02

Johannesburg - Eighteen high school pupils were arrested in Qumbu during protests against writing preliminary exams, Eastern Cape police said on Tuesday.

They were causing chaos and disrupting examinations in various schools on Monday, Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said.

"The students first gathered at Little Flower High School in Qumbu, but police managed to disperse them without incidents.

"They later moved to St Barts Senior Secondary School where they started disrupting classes and destroying examination papers."

The pupils became violent after police were called in. As police were trying to disperse them, they started throwing stones.

"There were only six police officers. They were left with no choice but to use rubber bullets to disperse the pupils," Fatyela said.

A police vehicle was damaged in the violence.

25% free marks

Eighteen of the students were arrested. Of those, 17 were from St Barts and one was from Majeke Senior Secondary School.

They were expected to appear in the Qumbu Magistrate's Court on Tuesday for public violence and intimidation.

Students belonging to the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) went on strike last week demanding a free 25% of their final marks if the department failed to meet their demands.

Their initial demands included a week's postponement of both the preliminary and final exam dates.

"Saturday classes and two hours of schoolwork should be added to every school day to recover time lost during the prolonged June holidays and the teachers' strike thereafter," Cosas deputy secretary general Sbonelo Shezi said.