South African stu­dents and po­lice con­tinue to clash

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

Photo: AFP

Fire­fight­ers douse a burn­ing bus dur­ing clashes with stu­dents fol­low­ing a protest over univer­sity tu­ition fees in Jo­han­nes­burg on Oc­to­ber 10.

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