Cops forced their way into my residence - UFS student

2016-02-26 14:30
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Bloemfontein - Police and the private security guards forced their way into a University of Free State (UFS) residence and arrested two students, a hostel leader said on Friday. 

"They insisted that I should open the door because they have direct orders. I refused and then they went to the back and broke the back door," said the Tswelopele residence's prime, Tshepang Mahlatsi.

Mahlatsi said they were singing outside their residence when police and security guards approached them on Thursday. After the officers had gained entry, they sprayed pepper spray in the corridors and broke the windows above the doors of the rooms.

They forced open the doors and arrested a first year and a second year student.

"I phoned top management to ask what is happening. They said the university is no longer responsible for what is happening and that this is now in the hands of our public order services," he said.

Free State police spokesperson Captain Chaka Marope said he was not aware of this.

On Thursday, the university said that the demand by students that Rector and Vice Chancellor Jonathan Jansen be removed from his post would be referred to its management structures. 

Students rejected this response. They then allegedly tried to vandalise the statue of former Orange Free State president Marthinus Theunis Steyn. Police fired rubber bullets and used stun grenades.

Twenty-one students were arrested.

They were expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on charges of malicious damage to property later on Friday, Free State police said. 

Constable Wendy Nkabi said Mosupatsela FM reporter Teboho Setlofane was arrested while covering Thursday's protests and charged with public violence.

Marope said he did not know if he was part of the group of 21. 

"I am not aware of Teboho, I only know that the twenty-one students will appear before court this afternoon," Marope said.

Read more on:    ufs  |  university of free state  |  bloemfontein  |  university protests

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