Durban – At least nine people were arrested by police following running battles between police and protesters at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus on Tuesday.
According to university spokesman Lesiba Seshoka, seven of the nine arrested in the residences were not students.
The arrests followed a second day of running battles where police used rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades as they clashed with students at the campus’ Oval residence and later at the P-Block residence.
Traffic into the campus was stopped by security.
One student shouted from behind a dustbin lid he was using as a shield: “Tell the VC (Vice Chancellor Albert van Jaarsveld) to shut the campus down or we will close it ourselves”.
His dustbin lid had a number of small dents where it had clearly been struck by rubber bullets.
Journalists were warned to get out of the way by students.
“Get out of the way or you will get hurt,” shouted a student.
Moments later a bottle landed in front of a car being driven by a journalist. The Journalist accelerated away. One student could be seen using a slingshot from a bathroom window in the Oval residence.
A number of petrol bombs were thrown, but they appeared to have little effect in the wet vegetation surrounding the Oval. It had rained on Monday night.
Debris littered the road and one police officer had blood running down his left arm, although he appeared to be unconcerned about his injury.
At one stage a student held up a sign that read “#FEES”. More rocks and bottles thrown. A police officer responded by shouting: “You throw like a girl!”
As the clashes died down during the day two Nyala anti-riot vehicles arrived at the gates of the Oval residence filled with members of the National Intervention Unit, who promptly used bolt cutters to cut open the chains that protesters had placed to the gates of the Oval residence.
The then stormed two buildings at of the residences during which the arrests were made.
As police were interrogating the students at B-Block in the Oval residence, a visibly angry mother arrived demanding to know what had happened to her son.
Most of those taken into custody were taken from Block-B in the Oval residence.
Empty bottles could be seen on one balcony while ironing boards were strewn all over the place. In Block-B in the Oval residence at least eight television sets were missing from their brackets in which they were meant to be installed. Earlier in the day one television set was thrown from protesters at Block-P.
Seshoka said that police also found two bottles of petrol.
The razor wire and rubbish that had been placed as obstacles were removed from the residences.
Seshoka said that there were no other report of unrest at any of the university’s other campuses.
African News Agency