Durban – Running battles erupted at the University of Durban’s Westville campus between police and a small group of students on Monday.
The battles which saw the students barricade themselves into The Oval residence on the campus saw students lobbing rock, stones, fire crackers and bottles at police, followed a protest by about 150 female students.
During that protest a demand was made to university authorities to allow a police march, but it appears the demand was denied.
The university, which has been beset by #FeesMustFall protests has a court interdict against protests and demonstrations.
Within half an hour of the request to march being denied, a group of students who kept their faces covered pulled up a Pick ‘n Pay shopping trolley loaded with bottles and started throwing the bottles and any stones they could at the police.
Police retaliated, using stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas. The protesting students used ironing boards, tables and whatever came to hand as they engaged the police.
As the battle between the police continued a student could be seen rushing with a dustbin full of stones to the students hiding behind the trolley.
Official comment from police was not immediately available, but it is understood that three students were arrested in a separate incident. They were caught with stones on them.
University spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said that there were also protests at the Pietermaritzburg campus and that one person was arrested for being in violation of the protests.
Referring to the Westville campus protests, he said that a group of protesting students had prevented other students from leaving the campus. He said there were other attempts to intimidate students from attending lectures.
One student who was leaving the campus and who did not want to be named, said: “There were two guys who came into our lecture. They told us we had better leave if we didn’t want trouble.”
Alan Khan, spokesman for the Durban University of Technology said that all was calm at that institution’s campuses and there were no reports of disturbances.
African News Agency