19 students arrested at UFS, violence at Wits

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A written on a placard carried by one of the students at Wits University.

JOHANNESBURG – Nineteen students were arrested at the University of the Free State on Monday, its student representative council president, Lindokuhle Ntuli, said on Monday.

Classes at the university were to resume on Monday after the university closed on 28 September for the spring break, a week earlier than scheduled.

However, clashes between protesting students and police ensued and led to the arrest of students.

Ntuli vowed that protest at the university would continue and that no classes would resume until they convened a university assembly with management to agree on issues including strategy on how the university and students cooperate to put pressure on the government..

“We will continue to shut down. We have just engaged with management to release those comrades who were arrested today,” Ntuli said.

“We have demanded a university assembly to be held on Wednesday or Thursday for the university to address us on issues that are currently happening and also to make its position very clear on how they are going to support students [calling for]  free and quality education.

“We need a government commitment before the end of the week so we can proceed next week with classes.

“If we do not have any form of commitment from government, any commitment on free and quality education, we will continue to shut down the university,” Ntuli said.

READ: Police clamp down on UFS protests

He said their protest would remain peaceful and that no destruction of property will be tolerated.

“Our protests have always been informed by peaceful principles, we do not stand for the destruction of the university’s property. We do not stand for the victimisation of the students. Our protests have been peaceful but only to the extent that they are no classes resuming and no police on campus.

"If police are on campus and shooting at us, we will be forced to respond with violence."

Wits University said lectures will continue throughout the week, despite planned protests around campus.

It made the announcement after classes were once again disrupted by Fees Must Fall protesters on Monday.

The university says it remains committed to talks with students but these can’t happen at the expense of the academic programme.

Management guaranteed that no student would be barred from writing examinations because of unpaid fees.

Wits has called for an end to the protests and said there will be no amnesty for anyone involved in criminal activities.

 

By midday students clashed with private security guards and police.

 

 

 


Teargas and rubber bullets were fired at the protesters.

Classes were also disrupted at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape. 

 


Some lectures at the university were suspended as students held a protest.