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WATCH: Rubber bullets, tear gas and frantic cries at Rhodes University

20 April, 06:36 PM

Rhodes University (RU) students and police were engaged in tense confrontations on Wednesday

Five students were arrested during the day and Vice Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela suspended the academic programme.

In footage captured by members of Activate Online, based in Grahamstown, Mabizela repeatedly appeals to police to relax their approach.

"You hit her, you hit her! Why did you hit her?" cries a student in this clip. Police arrived on the scene following reports of an illegal barricade.

Students have been protesting for days over the university management's approach to students' reports of alleged rape and sexual assault.

News24 Live repeatedly reached out to police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender who was busy in meetings much of the day.

Govender said in a statement police responded to reports of an illegal gathering early Wednesday morning.

"The roads were blocked off using furniture, brooms, sticks and stones," it reads. "Following warnings by the SAPS to disperse,  the crowd did not adhere to the instructions."'

Govender confirmed police arrested five suspects - two women and three men - between 18 and 23 years old on charges relating to the Gatherings Act (see here for Right2Know's guide to the Act).


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