Teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades fly as police clash with UKZN PMB students

2016-09-22 11:56

Pietermaritzburg - Thursday morning was characterised by running battles between police and protesting UKZN students along the fence of the Malherbe residence in Pietermaritzburg.

Following the clashed students eventually overrun security on the main campus and stormed buildings.

Protesters who stoned passing cars and broke the perimeter fence of the residence were met with teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades from the riot police. 

One student who was apparently hit by a canister was being attended to by paramedics. She appeared to have a broken arm and a wound.

The protesting students sometimes taunted the officers and had to take cover behind trees as the police fired teargas. The protesters came by in waves, trying to hurl stones as more riot police arrived. 

Some students even hurled a fire extinguisher at the police. 

#UKZN PMB rioters inside Malherbe Res break a fence. Police disperse with gas #Fees2017 @news24 pic.twitter.com/cIG8pL66gg

Earlier some students unwilling to embark on the protests were trapped in residences as riot police clashed with the protesters.

Striking students had set fire to entrances at the William O'Brien men's residence in Pietermaritzburg, and used furniture to blockade the entrance to Malherbe.

A student, speaking to News24 on condition of anonymity, said he was afraid to venture outside.

"I am not striking but the ones that... live with us [are]. We can't leave."

He said that entrances were blockaded at 06:00.

"They blocked the entrances and started burning them. The fires are out now but I am afraid to go outside," the student added.

On Wednesday the university cautioned “rogue perpetrators” in the student body, after a voice note warning of a protest and mass destruction at Durban’s Howard College Campus was circulated.

“We are also aware of some rogue perpetrators who are using social media platforms to threaten violent protest action and intimidate students to keep away from campus,” the university said in a statement.

The inflammatory remarks included threats to shut down campus, mass destruction and stopping students from finishing their degrees.

“We caution students to guard against making defamatory comments, spreading misinformation and inciting violence in any form. Incidents of this nature are being investigated and people found guilty will be brought to book,” it said.

The SRC is expected to adopt an official plan of action on Thursday morning, after consultation with their leadership and students.

Several universities around the country have suspended activities after higher education Minister Blade Nzimande announced a recommended fee increase capped at 8%.

Nzimande also announced that poor students and students whose families earned less than R600 000 a year would not have their fees increased for the second year running.

Students falling outside these categories would have to wait to see what increase individual universities decided on.

Read more on:    ukzn  |  durban  |  university fees

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