Johannesburg - North West police fired rubber bullets and live ammunition on protesting students in Mmabatho on Wednesday morning, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) claimed.
Students were protesting peacefully against the closure of the Mmbatho nursing college, Denosa North West said in a statement.
“One student leader was assaulted and then arrested in the commotion, triggering panic among student nurses.”
The organisation said it was appalled by what it called the reckless actions of police, following the closure of the college nearly two months ago.
North West police denied Denosa's allegations.
“Denosa alleged the police used live ammunition on what they call a peaceful protest of students at Mmabatho nursing college,” Colonel Emelda Setlhako said.
“We want to put on record that students barricaded Dr Albert Luthuli Drive this morning with stones, which they also used to throw at passing motorists, therefore contravening... the National Road Traffic Act.”
Police ordered students to disperse, but they refused.
“Instead, they threw stones at the police. In order to restore calm and put the situation under control, the police were compelled to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd,” she said.
“No one was assaulted during the arrest as alleged.”
A student was injured when the police tried to handcuff him, and a man was arrested for public violence.
Setlhako appealed to students to demonstrate and engage with police peacefully.