SRC starts bail fund for students arrested at Rhodes

2016-09-28 17:09

(The Oppidan Press / Stuart Wilson)

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Cape Town – Police have used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse protesting students at Rhodes University in Grahamstown and, according to reports, 12 students have been arrested.

Academic activity was supposed to restart at 10:30 on Wednesday, but Oppidan Press tweeted that the SRC had called for a class boycott.

Vice Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela addressed staff, union members and students in Baratt Hall.

Mabizela explained the difficulties of rescheduling academic activities and, according to Oppidan Press, said the university had received a list of demands by students on Monday and responded in great detail by 14:30 on the same day.

"Some of the demands presented by the protesting students are beyond the capacity and affordability of the university to meet," he said.

He said it was unacceptable that students and workers were intimidated and assaulted.

He asked the students to allow the academic programme to start. "Pursuing free education is not mutually exclusive to proceeding with our academic process."

After the meeting, various classes were disrupted and the students took to the streets.

A lecturer, who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, said her class was disrupted in quite a "civilised" manner. "They just came in and switched off the plugs."

She said everything had been quiet up to now, and things "are not as bad as it looks on social media".

Two students who spoke to News24 said their class was also disrupted by protesters who came to class for the lecture, and after the lecture got started told student to leave. "When they wouldn't leave, the protesters upended tables and threw test papers around," one of the students said.

Initially, five students were arrested by police as provided for in the interdict the university obtained against anyone who threatens or intimidates students or prohibits lectures from taking place, police spokesperson Captian Luvuyo Mjekula said.

A little, later police arrested another five and two more were later taken into custody, the SRC said.

They are facing charges of malicious damage to property.

When police tried to stop students from barricading roads they pelted officers with stones and police shot at them with rubber bullets.

The SRC has appealed for funds to bail out the students who were arrested, the independent student news service Activate reported.

The situation remains tense.

Read more on:    rhodes university  |  university protests  |  university fees

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