UKZN student run over during Maritzburg protests

2016-09-22 18:05
FILE: (Jeff Wicks, News24)

FILE: (Jeff Wicks, News24) (Jeff Wicks)

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Pietermaritzburg - A student was seriously injured when he was run over during a protest at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

The 18-year-old man was apparently run over while lying in the road, trying to block traffic, an EMS source told News24.

Earlier in the morning, riot police shot and injured a woman with a gas canister, while they were dispersing a crowd at the Malherbe Residence.

There were running battles between police and protesting UKZN students along the fence of the residence.

Following the clash, students got past security guards on the main campus and stormed buildings.

Riot police used teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against protesters who stoned passing cars and broke the residence's perimeter fence.

The protesting students taunted the officers and took cover behind trees. Students came through in waves, throwing stones and, in one case, a fire extinguisher, as more riot police arrived.

Earlier, students who were unwilling to take part in the violence were trapped in residences as riot police clashed with the protesters.

Students set fire to entrances to 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 after the entrances were blockaded at 06:00.

"I am not striking, but the ones that live with us are. We can't leave. They blocked the entrances and started burning them. The fires are out now, but I am afraid to go outside," he added.

On Wednesday, the university cautioned "rogue perpetrators" in the student body, after a voice message 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, to cause mass destruction and to stop 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 was expected to adopt a plan of action on Thursday morning, after talks with their leaders and students.

Several universities around the country have suspended activities due to protests and violence on their campuses. The protests were in reaction to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s announcement on Monday that universities could decide on their own fee increases for 2017, capped at 8%.

Nzimande said 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:    pietermaritzburg  |  university fees

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