Injuries and arrests at DUT

2010-03-24 00:00

A POLICE officer, a vendor and a student were injured in protest action yesterday at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), which has resulted in 62 student arrests.

The police officer and vendor were both allegedly injured by students who were throwing stones, apparently reacting to the police presence, while the student was hit in the face by a rubber bullet.

Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said the protest began at 8.30 am at the Steve Biko campus in Durban, where about 5 000 students gathered. Executive management is based at the Steve Biko campus.

According to Mdunge, the students were damaging property and stoning the cars of university employees.

Police officers were attacked with stones and had to enlist the help of the Public Order Police Services.

“The police had to use minimum force to restore calm through the firing of bullets, water cannons and pepper spray,” said Mdunge.

The 62 students were arrested for public violence and are expected to appear in a Durban court this morning.

This current spate of protests started at the two Midlands campuses on March 12, resulting in the closure of the two sites last Monday. The students were protesting mainly about high food costs. Last Tuesday, a demonstration at the Indumiso campus resulted in damage to property and the arrests of seven students. By Wednesday, all academic activities were suspended at all DUT campuses, after the Durban campuses joined the fray.

Staff are said to have been sent home on Wednesday for safety reasons, and it was hoped that lectures would resume on Friday. But on Friday, lectures and non-academic operations had to be shut down. Now the students won’t be in lectures until after the Easter holidays.

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