NEWS

In photos: Violent clashes at Wits

Several protesters and one police officer injured

Photo of student protester handing flowers to police officer.
A student hands flowers to a police officer on Wits University today. At least one police officer accepted the flowers and exchanged a warm greeting with the protester.
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Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at protesters at Wits University today. Protesters in turn disrupted classes and also threw rocks at police. One police officer was injured, as were several students.

Several women students, one of them topless (photo not shown) removed their shirts and approached police after clashes between students and police. 
Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at protesters.
A police officer gets ready to throw a stun grenade. 
Protesters throw stones at police.
Protesters take cover during clashes with police.
Several police officers attempted to arrest student leader Mcebo Dlamini. Protesters tried to stop them. In the scuffle, Dlamini escaped. He was later seen with his hands bandaged.
One of the police officers who tried to arrest Dlamini was injured.
A stun grenade sends protesters fleeing.
A protester throws a stone.
Students take cover and comfort each other.

While much of the above was taking GroundUp spoke to Imraan Valodia, the dean of Commerce, Law and Management. “It’s pretty rough at the moment,” he said. “We’ve been trying to run the academic programme. We decided on doing it in a phased way. First get the academic and administrative staff on campus. That happened yesterday. And resume the normal academic programme today.”

Valodia said a “significant amount of intimidation” had taken place yesterday. “Students came through buildings, sometimes asking, sometimes forcing members of staff to leave offices.”

Valodia said the academic programme proceeded till 10:30am today until protesters went through classes forcing lecturers to stop teaching. 

“I fully support the call that any student who can’t afford it should not be denied a place at university. But most students want the academic programme, and people who depend on it. Medical students are about to go into the profession, lawyers too. We support the call for affordable education, but we can’t stop the university,” he said.

All photos by Ihsaan Haffejee. 

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