White man threatened us with 'gun' - Rhodes protesters

2015-10-20 17:26

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Durban – A peaceful protest by a group of Rhodes University students turned tense after a white man brandished a “gun” at one demonstrator on Tuesday.

It is believed that the altercation became racially fuelled after white students in a car approached the African Street barricade and were stopped by peaceful protesters.

One witness said a conversation ensued between one of the black protesters and two white men in a vehicle – also believed to be students.

Speaking to News24, Sim Gayika, a student protester recounted how the incident escalated.

"We were all just planning ourselves logistically when these two guys drove up here. A woman with us went up to them and asked for a lighter. They were speaking and she calmly said something regarding white privilege.

"One guy jumped out of the vehicle. We saw this and went through to make sure he was not beating her or anything. It was at this point she said another one of the men pulled out a gun and told her she must know."

Oppidan Press editor-in-chief Stuart Lewis said he believed protesters would not have instigated the incident.

"We have been on the ground with these protests and they have been nothing less than peaceful."

Lewis said he had spoken to the men and was told the weapon was a BB air gun.

"They have now cut communication, saying they would speak to us through their lawyers."

Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said she was not aware of the incident.

"However, we would like to encourage witnesses to come forward with information. If there is no report made, there isn’t much investigation we can do. If there is any criminality, they need to report it. We need a statement and we will thereafter investigate. Do not be afraid.”

Govender warned the weapon could have been real.

"We cannot go on hearsay. If it was a real firearm the law needs to take its course on those offenders."

Read more on:    rhodes university  |  grahamstown  |  university fees

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