Riot police keep watch as students chant slogans outside the Hillbrow magistrate court during an appearance of their colleagues who were arrested during a protest demanding free education at the Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand. Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - There were reports of about 50 or 60 protesters entering the Matrix Student Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand using fire crackers to alarm and disperse students in the centre, according to spokesperson Shirona Patel.

A cleaner had also fainted and she is being treated by a doctor in the campus Health and Wellness Centre.

Protesting students were also allegedly breaking concrete dustbins to use as rocks. The police are on scene managing the situation. They are containing the protest on the library lawns.

Reports also came in of stink bombs being used to disrupt lectures in some classes on the Braamfontein campus on Thursday morning. Students and lectures have had to move to the next available venue.

University management is still waiting for the meeting to take place on Thursday. The mediators are consulting with student leaders in this regard and are hopeful that this can take place soon.

Patel also added that permission has been granted for staff members and students to watch the meeting on a big screen on the ground Floor of Solomon House on Thursday evening.

“The student leaders and the University agreed via mediators to meet today (Thursday), between 20 students who will represent them, the students will choose who will represent them - they could be student leaders or people from other constituencies as well. The students requested for the meeting to be livestreamed.”

While all was calm on campus on Thursday morning, Wits reiterates that they are completely committed to negotiations with student leaders.


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