8 NMMU students arrested

2016-09-21 20:03
NMMU students arrested. (News24)

NMMU students arrested. (News24)

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Port Elizabeth - Eight NMMU students were arrested for alleged public violence and obstructing traffic during protests against tuition fee increases on Wednesday.

The three men and five women were arrested shortly before 17:00 after blocking the Marine Drive intersection in front of the Boardwalk Hotel and Entertainment Centre.

The group of about 100 was part of a larger group that clashed with police in front of the Boardwalk entrance in 2nd Avenue earlier in the day.

Initial confrontation

The first confrontation occurred around 15:30, when students who marched from the main Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University campus to the 2nd Avenue campus, refused to enter the institution's grounds and instead blocked the road and the entrance to the Boardwalk.

Police warned them they did not have permission to protest and told them to disperse. When students refused, police in riot gear started pushing them back onto the campus. Students threw water bottles and police used stun grenades to disperse them.

Following the police action, the majority of students left. Many caught buses that had been arranged to take them back to their residences. A breakaway group however began marching down 2nd Avenue toward the beachfront.

They blocked the Marine Drive intersection in front of the Boardwalk, obstructing traffic. When they ignored the police’s order to leave, officers again used stun grenades.

The students scattered into the parking lot at Shark Rock Pier. Many ran onto the beach. Some hid from police under the pier and some tried running into the ocean.

One female student, who was arrested while under the pier, shouted that the police officer who arrested her was touching her buttocks.

"Stop touching my bum. This is sexual harassment. I've been sexually harassed by the police. He touched my bum. Take a photo of this man," she shouted.

They were escorted to police vans. A scuffle with police broke out when they refused to get into the vans. An officer used a stun grenade to break up the fight.

Eight arrested

Police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said eight students were arrested and taken to the Humewood police station. One of the students was also charged with obstructing police in the performance of their duties.

She said it was not yet clear when the students would appear for bail. She could not comment on the alleged sexual assault as no official complaint had been made and no case opened.

Naidu said should the student want to take the matter further, she should come forward and open a case so an investigation could be conducted.

By early evening, around 80 students had gathered at the entrance of the Humewood police station.

A member of the university’s management, who came to check on the students, advised the group not to aggravate the matter further by demanding the release of the eight. Some student leaders tried to arrange legal help for their fellow students.

Read more on:    nmmu  |  university protests  |  university fees

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