'Violence won't be tolerated' Eastern Cape police warn student protesters

OCTOBER 21, 2015

As the current nationwide protests by university students over 2016 fee hikes escalated and turned more violent, the SA Police Services in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday appealed to the protesters to protest in peace.

The police said that anyone caught breaking the law would be arrested and SAPS officers will also have to take the necessary measures to restore order. The warning comes after police fired rubber bullets to disperse students at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Wednesday morning.

Two students were hit by the rubber bullets.

While the situation had calmed for most of the day at NMMU, University of Fort Hare and Rhodes University, in Cape Town police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse students from the University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and Cape Peninsula University of Technology, who had descended on the National Assembly to demand an audience with the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Blade Nzimande.

According to reports, the heavily-armed riot police fired rubber bullets and at least ten stun grenades atstudents trying to force their way inside the Chamber.

Eastern Cape police have also been meeting with the University Management and Student representatives to avoid protests to become unlawful and violent.

Early on Wednesday, however, Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip described the firing of rubber bullets and tear gas at protesting NMMU students, as “government’s oppression of democracy”.

The NMMU has announced that a meeting with student leaders will take place on Thursday afternoon.

The DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) slammed Nzimande’s proposed blanket six percent increase in university fees for 2016, saying it undermines the rights of students.

Related:

BLANKET UNIVERSITY FEE REDUCTION BENEFITS THE WEALTHY – SLOWS CHANGE

OPPOSITION BLAMES UNIVERSITY CRISIS ON BLADE

UNIVERSITY FUNDING IN A MESS - MAIMANE

NZIMANDE TO MEET WITH VC’S AS RUBBER BULLETS ARE FIRED IN GRAHAMSTOWN

STUDENT PROTEST OVER INCREASED FEES SHUTS DOWN RHODES UNIVERSITY

Image: @ziyanda_ via Twitter.