UFS calm as education suspended after protests

2016-10-11 10:46
Security clash with students at UFS (Jeanette Chabalala, News24, file)

Security clash with students at UFS (Jeanette Chabalala, News24, file)

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Bloemfontein - The University of Free State was calm on Tuesday morning after it suspended all academic work following violent disruptions.

No work would take place on all three campuses on Wednesday and Thursday, it said in a statement on its website.

“The suspension of all academic activities on the campuses will ensure time for the university management to engage with stakeholders in order to find a solution to the crisis,” UFS spokesperson Lacea Loader said.

She said should a resolution not be reached, all UFS campuses would be closed until further notice.

On Monday evening, students threw stones at police as officers tried to remove them from campus. Earlier that day, students disrupted classes and tests on the Bloemfontein campus. About 20 students were reportedly arrested.

The Student Representative Council cancelled its media briefing following running battles with police.  

The university had earlier said despite the protest, classes would continue.

"The academic programme is, however, continuing and the university management has put all necessary and reasonable arrangements in place to safeguard staff, students, and its campuses," Loader said at the time.

Security personnel used paintball guns to disperse the protesting group outside computer labs at the university's main campus.

Despite the protests, some students said they attended classes without any disruptions.

Free Education Movement leader Asive Dlanjwa said they met management and called for the removal of police on campus and for management to engage with students. They wanted management to lift a court interdict.

"Management said if we stop the shutdown then they will release the arrested students. We will not be intimidated or side-tracked.

"We have come too far to turn back. Nothing has changed. We will discuss the way forward with the students," he said.

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Read more on:    ufs  |  university fees  |  university protests
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