More student disorder

2016-02-26 09:55
Police arrest protesting students outside UKZN's Agriculture block in Pietermaritzburg.

Police arrest protesting students outside UKZN's Agriculture block in Pietermaritzburg. (Ian Carbutt)

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Police frogmarch two into van near Wits

2016-02-19 15:24

A few people among protesting students were frogmarched into a police van during a demonstration in Johannesburg on Friday, 19 February. Writer Panashe Chigumadzi detailed the arrest as it happened. She published reports of "roller coaster driving" en route to Hillbrow police station. Students had gathered on Empire Road to protest over student accommodation.WATCH

Pietermaritzburg - Six university students were arrested in Pietermaritzburg yesterday when violent protests erupted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

According to students and sources within university management, a group of about 50 students went on a three-hour rampage on Thursday, overturning rubbish bins and tossing stones at security guards.

It is believed the protest started at about 1 pm, when the group went around the main campus collecting donations from other students.

The funds were to be given to striking university employees, who have downed tools for about two weeks.

With a song and dance, the group gave the monies to the striking cleaners who were sitting outside the campus gates on Alan Paton Avenue, before returning inside the campus.

Once inside, the students allegedly became violent, disrupting classes in various lecture blocks.

The mob spread from the main campus, up to the education and psychology departments on Golf Road and then into the commerce and law blocks.

According to one student, who was in the law library, the commotion could be heard from “a mile away”.

“I was sitting inside the library when I heard the singing. The staff quickly locked the doors, and from the windows, we could see the protesters overturning bins and flinging rubbish everywhere,” the student said.

At about 3 pm, the group made their way to the agriculture block in Carbis Road, all the while being escorted by Public Order Policing, who drove slowly behind the mob.

When the students were denied entry into the facility by security guards employed by the university, a clash ensued.

Students allegedly started flinging large stones at the guards, who retaliated with paintball guns and tear gas.

Six students were arrested in the frenzy. One security guard lambasted the police, who according to him, “stood by and watched” as the onslaught escalated. “The police never left their vehicles and just watched as the students went crazy.

“Are they scared to get their hands dirty or are their political sources playing a hand here,” the guard said.

When The Witness arrived just after 3 pm, the group of students were seen standing on pavements along Carbis Road.

The six students, three males and three females, were sitting under a tree near the guard house, singing mournfully as the police van made its way through the gate to collect them.

At the time of going to press no comment had been received from the university. The reasons behind the protest are unclear at this stage.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  student  |  protest

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