UCT starting to pick up the pieces after a day of rioting

Cape Town – The office of the University of Cape Town’s vice chancellor Max Price was burned during violent student protests on Tuesday night, the institution told News24.

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UCT’s Aamirah Sonday said: “I can confirm that Mr Price’s office was burnt during the protest by students. No one was injured. We will have more information later in the day.”

Sonday said the university would resume classes on Wednesday morning. "It's business as usual today. So far it is peaceful. We are busy clearing up and assessing the damage."

UCT law students' Twitter page reported the incident with a picture of a man standing in what appeared to be an office window holding fire extinguisher. “Credible reports that VC Max Price's office has been burnt in arson attack #UCT #Shackville,” the post read.

- PICS: #Shackville aftermath at UCT

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the institution said it would lay criminal charges against students involved in the protest.

The eight students arrested on Tuesday evening were due to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday morning on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Price said in the statement that the protest action escalated when student protesters seemingly under the #RhodesMustFall banner reacted violently to the institution's request to move their protest shack. He said students invaded residencies and kitchens, burning barricades.

One of the university's Jammie Shuttle buses was set alight outside the Tugwell residence at its lower campus on Tuesday night, the university said on its website. The bus was empty and nobody was hurt. Another Jammie bus was pelted with stones.

According to pictures and videos circulating on Twitter and Instagram, there was a large police presence on the campus before crowds dispersed.

Earlier on Tuesday, protesters set alight a number of paintings they had taken off the walls of the Fuller, Jameson, and Smuts halls. The paintings were torched near a shack they erected on Residence Road on Monday. This was part of a protest by Rhodes Must Fall members against what they claim was a lack of access to residence accommodation by students from poorer backgrounds.

Public Order Policing unit clashed with students and police fired stun grenades. Several students were arrested during the clash.

Meanwhile, two students from the University of the Western Cape are also due to appear in court on Wednesday on a charge of public violence after they were arrested on Tuesday evening.

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