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WATCH: ‘Volatile’ student protest over wi-fi connection results in Durban CBD road closure, 2 arrested

Metro police said two students were arrested for inciting public violence after a protest over WiFi connectivity turned violent at a residence shared by UKZN and DUT students in the Durban CBD

Students from UKZN and DUT who live at the Seaboard residence in the Durban CBD embarked on a protest over poor WiFi connectivity which led to two arrests. Mahatma Gandhi Road (Point Road) was closed. Picture: Pest Go Services Pest Control shared via Durban Traffic.

Published Jun 6, 2022

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DURBAN - A group of university students embarked on protest action on Monday morning, over the wi-fi connection at the residence they live in, and blocked Mahatma Gandhi Road (Point Road) with stones and burning tyres.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said the protest took place at 9.30am this morning.

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Gwala said the situation is calm at the moment and that the Public Order Police and local police are monitoring the situation.

She said a group of 50 students embarked on a protest where they blockaded Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road with stones and burning tyres.

“Two suspects aged 20 and 25 were arrested for public violence. They will appear before the Durban Magistrate’s Court tomorrow,” said Gwala.

Metro police spokesperson Geraldine Stevens said the situation was very volatile.

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Stevens said the students complained that the wi-fi reception was poor and they began throwing TVs among other things out of the Seaboard building.

“They messed up the street and we had to call the Public Order Police who then forced them back into the building.

“However, we had to keep the road closed because of all the debris that was laying on the road,” she said.

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Stevens said the two students were arrested for inciting public violence

University of KwaZulu-Natal told The Mercury that the Seaboard residence is a leased accommodation in Durban, which is shared by UKZN and DUT students.

UKZN said when police attended to the scene, the protesters dispersed and went into separate rooms inside the building, said the university.

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“It is alleged that once inside the building, the protesters started throwing items such as microwaves out of the windows onto the street.”

UKZN said it has been established that the main grievance is about the wi-fi connectivity, which the students say has not been properly working at the building after the floods.

The university said it was not informed of any wi-fi connectivity challenges at the building prior to the protest.

UKZN said it had dispatched officials from the Department of Student Residences Affairs to engage with the students and the landlord on the matter and the meeting is still ongoing.

“UKZN management remains committed to working with all students to resolve any challenges. The university condemns any destructive conduct including the destruction of property and the blockading of public roads as there cannot be any justification for such”.

Mahatma Gandhi Road (Point Road) was closed by police in order to clear the debris of protesting students living in the Seaboard residence shared by UKZN and DUT students. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Mahatma Gandhi Road (Point Road) was closed by police in order to clear the debris of protesting students living in the Seaboard residence shared by UKZN and DUT students. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

THE MERCURY

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