Scores of UJ students and workers to spend weekend in holding cells

2015-11-06 18:32
(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

(Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg – More than a hundred students and workers were expected to spend the weekend in holding cells after they were arrested during a protest at the University of Johannesburg on Friday afternoon.

Police spokesperson Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said the protesters would appear at the Brixton Magistrate's Court on Monday morning on charges of contravening a court order. Protesters allegedly violated a court order granted to the university that stipulated protesters should remain at least 500m from campus buildings.

Among those arrested included several SRC leaders, including former Wits SRC president and leader of the #FeesMustFall movement, Shaeera Kalla.

Protesting students have come out in support of workers who are demanding an end to outsourcing.

Asked how many protesters and workers were arrested, Mofokeng said he could not give an exact figure, but estimated the number was close to 150. This included students and workers, he said.

Two journalists were apparently also among the arrested group. Police asked journalists at the scene to produce media cards to avoid arrest when chaos broke out at UJ.

Protesters sang struggle songs and willingly went into police Nyalas as they were arrested.

Sang struggle songs

The UJ workers were also earlier joined by some Wits University students. Among those arrested were UJ SRC president Khutso Rammutla and UJ SRC Soweto chairperson, Siyabonga Nhlabathi.

Wits student leader, Lindokuhle Xulu, said more than 80 students were already camped outside Brixton Police Station to demand the release of their fellow students.

"We will wait here until they are released and if needs be, we will sleep here. We cannot understand why our comrades were arrested and we demand their immediate release," Xulu said.

Another student, Mohammad Malek, said 17 lawyers were representing students.

Earlier on Friday, protesting workers marched from Braamfontein to UJ's Kingsway campus. On arrival protesters held up their hands to show that they were not carrying weapons. When asked by the police to move to another area or disperse, protesters resisted.

"They were given 15 minutes to disperse or move to another area and they resisted which lead to their arrest," Mofokeng told News24. 

UJ deputy vice chancellor Mpho Letlape said exams were going well despite the protest.

She insisted that police protection was necessary saying some criminal elements who were proclaiming to be part of the protests had started a fire at a female residence.

Read more on:    uj  |  johannesburg  |  protests  |  education  |  university fees

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