Dramatic scenes erupted at the University of Cape Town in the late hours of Monday night when riot police stormed students out of Bremner Building, UCT’s administrative building. One student was injured after police fired teargas and stun grenades to disperse the peaceful protestors. RA’EESA PATHER reports.
The police were acting on a court interdict on behalf of the University of Cape Town. Students had occupied Bremner Building to protest against fees increases and outsourcing at the university. Although students and staff members vowed not to resist arrest, police dressed into their riot gear before removing students into police vans.
Students sitting outside at the entrance of Bremner Building, remained seated and continued to sing struggle songs as police took them away. Protestors inside waited on the second floor for police to come inside. Police fired teargas once inside the building, but protestors emerged peacefully, in single file, clapping hands and singing as they were steered into a casspir.
Despite being locked in police vehicles, students continued to protest. A few protestors who had not been arrested climbed onto the casspir where their fellow students were held to prevent it from leaving. Police turned the casspir around, and drove towards a dead end, before forcing students off the vehicle.
— Ashraf Hendricks (@AshrafRSA) October 19, 2015
Students and staff held hands to form a human chain around the vehicle, while it remained at the dead end. Police then fired stun grenades, forcing protestors to disperse, and injuring one student who sat crying as her peers tried to help her. Approximately 24 students were reportedly arrested. Although police refused to tell students and media where the detained protestors would be taken, the remaining students marched to Rondebosch police station where they believed arrested students were being held.
The arrests and forceful police action have not deterred students in the #UCTShutdown movement, who are determined to bring the university to a standstill until their demands for no fee increases and the adoption of insourcing at UCT are met.
Featured image: Ashraf Hendricks
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