South African police ar­rest 9 in ri­ot­ing near univer­sity

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

South African police ar­rested nine peo­ple dur­ing ar­son at­tacks and stone-throw­ing near a Jo­han­nes­burg univer­sity where stu­dents have been protesting for free ed­u­ca­tion, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day. Two ve­hi­cles were set on fire in the overnight un­rest in Braam­fontein, an ur­ban area that was the scene of sim­i­lar vi­o­lence dur­ing clashes be­tween stu­dents and police ear­lier in the week, the na­tional police said on Twit­ter.

Of the nine peo­ple ar­rested, two are stu­dents at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, also known as Wits, two are from other uni­ver­si­ties and five are not stu­dents, said Shi­rona Pa­tel, a univer­sity spokes­woman. The school, one of South Africa’s lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties, has im­posed overnight re­stric­tions on ac­cess and move­ment on cam­pus be­cause of se­cu­rity con­cerns. It re­jected crit­i­cism from some pro­test­ers that ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures and a police pres­ence on cam­pus were pro­vok­ing vi­o­lence. “The only rea­son these mea­sures were im­ple­mented was be­cause a group of stu­dents started four fires on our cam­puses on Thurs­day night, smashed win­dows, stoned build­ings and flooded rooms,” the univer­sity said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. In other vi­o­lence, two build­ings were dam­aged by fire­bombs at the Howard Col­lege cam­pus of the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal, South African me­dia re­ported Satur­day.

Stu­dent protests, many of which have turned vi­o­lent, have forced some South African uni­ver­si­ties to close. The un­rest be­gan last month when the govern­ment rec­om­mended that uni­ver­si­ties in­crease 2017 fees by no more than 8 per­cent, while say­ing it would cover fee hikes next year for poor univer­sity stu­dents. Pro­test­ers, how­ever, say the plan is in­suf­fi­cient and de­mand the grad­ual im­ple­men­ta­tion of free univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion. Large stu­dent protests in 2015 forced the govern­ment to freeze fee in­creases this year.


VANDERBIJLPARK: A woman looks on as she holds a gate at the dorms at the North West Univer­sity Vaal Cam­pus.

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