South African students and police continue to clash
SOUTH African student protesters and police clashed in renewed violence in Johannesburg as attempts to reopen the Wits University descended into running battles on campus.
Protesters throwing rocks were dispersed by riot police using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades as pressure ratcheted up on campuses across the country over tuition fees.
Unrest has erupted repeatedly at South African universities in recent months, with Wits and other institutions forced to close temporarily over the past three weeks.
Demonstrations were also reported on campuses in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg.
The violence on October 10, which also involved campus security guards, focused outside Wits’ Great Hall auditorium and spread into the city streets outside.
Student leaders said they had warned authorities that resuming lectures as planned would result in another bout of clashes.
University tuition fees – which are set to be increased – have become a flashpoint for protests in South Africa, which has struggled to provide education, jobs and housing for many poor black people since the end of apartheid in 1994.
The government has vowed to help all students from poorer families over the fees, but the protesters are demanding free education.
President Jacob Zuma has said he supports introducing free education, but has condemned protesters who forced universities to shut down or who vandalised campuses. –
Firefighters douse a burning bus during clashes with students following a protest over university tuition fees in Johannesburg on October 10.