UWC students recover from injuries after police action - SRC

2015-10-23 12:41

Cape Town - A number of students were recovering on Friday from injuries sustained when police tried to disperse a #feesmustfall protest at the University of the Western Cape.

UWC Students' Representative Council president Akhona Landu told News24 on Friday: "We had problems initially with the police not letting injured students leave the premises [on Thursday night].

"But we eventually got everyone who was injured to Tygerberg [hospital]. Lots of students were bruised and itching from being hit with rubber bullets,'' he said as students went from dormitory to dormitory rousing exhausted students with song for another day of protest marches.

"A girl dislocated her shoulder while running and another broke her arm after a fall. But everyone who was injured got treated late last night [Thursday]," Landu said.

The police action at UWC was in spite of a Western Cape High Court interdict stopping that police in the province from using ''unreasonable force'' to manage the protests.

Water cannons

The interdict application was lodged after 29 people were arrested when the gates of Parliament were stormed on Wednesday. They included Ilan Price, son of University of Cape Town vice chancellor Max Price, and Markus Trengove, son of well-known lawyer Wim Trengove.

At UWC students were hoping to meet the vice chancellor Tyrone Pretorius, but university spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said no such meeting was planned. But he indicated that university management would hold meetings with SRC members throughout the weekend to try to resolve the issues.

Pretorius said in a statement that students marched around campus on Thursday and were generally peaceful.

"At about 17:30 a group of students took the protest off campus, blocking the major intersection between Robert Sobukwe Road and Symphony Way. This led to traffic being redirected to alternative roads. Law enforcement agencies arrived to decongest the traffic and to disperse the protesting students. When the students refused to move the police used water cannons to disperse them."

He said protesters moved to the Steel Park entrance of the university and set waste bins and tyres alight.

Tensions and frustrations

"I am further informed that stones were thrown at the cars of members of the public. The police used stun grenades again and some students were arrested. I have also been informed that two students were injured while running away from the police," Pretorius said.

"I plead with students to continue with their protesting in a peaceful and respectful manner. I would also like to emphasise that, similarly, we plead with the police to refrain from using harsh measures that often serve only to heighten tensions and exacerbate students’ frustrations."

University of Cape Town students who stayed on campus on Friday said they are focusing on the plight of university workers. They said the workers have been right behind them and now it is their time to be supported in their own fight against outsourcing.

They will be joined at the march by academics who want the university to withdraw its interdict against the students and for the university to give them information about its financial affairs.

The academics at UCT donned their red and black gowns for their march and were joined by around 1 000 students.

There were no police in sight.

Read more on:    uwc  |  cape town  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests

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