Situation calm after school protest

2011-02-18 14:10
Port Elizabeth - The situation was calm the day after schoolchildren protested and set tyres alight outside the Kuyga Intermediate School in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape police said on Friday.

"They were complaining because there were no ablutions or water," Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said.

She said children were toyi-toying in front of the school and burning tyres on Thursday, but when police arrived at about 11:00 the situation was brought under control.

"Police suggested to the principal to close the school for the day so they could discuss their problems with the department of education to find a solution."

No one was reported injured during the protest.

Racial tensions

She said she could not comment on reports that the protest was fuelled by racial tension.

The Herald Online reported on Friday that children as young as 7-years-old participated in the protest action.

It reported that there was racial tension between coloured and black pupils and their parents, apparently because there were more Xhosa-speaking than Afrikaans-speaking teachers at the dual medium school.

Children, armed with stones and sticks, protested while parents hurled racial insults at each other.

Locked inside

At one stage, black pupils and parents locked themselves inside the school while coloured parents and pupils protested outside.

Parent Bianca Smith said she believed coloured children were being marginalised at the school.

"The way we are being marginalised is totally unacceptable. They are taking us back to the days of apartheid. Our kids have just as much right to be educated as theirs."

Police managed to calm protesters down and the children extinguished the burning tyres.

The police cleared the gates to allow teachers to leave the school safely.

Education spokesperson Mali Mtima said members of the district department would visit the school to assess the situation.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  education  |  protests
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