NMMU students barricade all entrances to campus

2015-10-22 16:37
(Derrick Spies)

(Derrick Spies)

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WATCH: Police fire rubber bullets, teargas to disperse protesting NMMU students

2015-10-21 09:51

NMMU students were shot at by police with rubber bullets and teargas during the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University protest against tuition fee increases. WARNING: Explicit languageWATCH

Port Elizabeth - Students barricaded all entrances to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Thursday afternoon after a tense stand-off between them and Vice Chancellor Derrick Swartz over the venue for a mass meeting to be held over the fee protests.

Swartz had agreed to a meeting with the student body earlier in the week, and it was scheduled to take place at the university's Madibaz Stadium at 13:00 on Thursday. 

However, an hour before the meeting was to take place, student organisers demanded that the venue be changed to the campus cafeteria, known as the Kraal.

Swartz refused, saying arrangements had already been made from a security perspective and that, as the chief legal officer of the university, he could not guarantee the safety of the students or staff should they change venues.

Addressing a small gathering of students and staff who had come to the stadium, Swartz said while he sympathised with the students' plight, he did not agree with the current tactics being deployed.

"Students are saying that the VC doesn't want to talk to them, but I am here," he said.

Swartz said there were rumours being spread that military police were waiting for students at the stadium, but that this was not true.

"You can see it is just campus security here," he said.

Swartz said that the change in venue demanded by student organisers was an intimidation tactic to create confrontation.

"I was arrested, detained in the 80s, I am not going to allow anyone to take me hostage ever. I will not allow my staff to be subjected to that," he said.

Shortly after his opening address, security staff at the stadium informed the small group that the students were moving down from the Kraal to come to the stadium.

However the large group of about 600 students split and barricaded the main entrance to the university instead.

The students have remained at the entrance to the North and South campus under the watchful eye of campus security and police

Another splinter group broke away and blocked the back entrance, which was being used as the only exit, shortly before 15:00, effectively trapping the remaining students and staff inside the campus.

Students have been warned that they need to disperse and police are preparing to take action against them if they do not.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  university fees

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