Photo: Viwe Ndongeni

Parliament - The sound of stun grenades reverberated through the parliamentary precinct on Wednesday as police tried to disperse protesting students who had gathered at the legislature as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his medium-term budget policy statement.

Commuters were caught in the middle of the chaos which spread from the parliamentary precinct, through the CBD, to Cape Town station. A nurse was shot with a rubber bullet and another woman, who had just been discharged from hospital, was also injured.

The protest outside parliament saw thousands of students initially start of in a peaceful manner. Later though, after Gordhan had begun delivering his address inside the National Assembly, frustrated students started to provoke the large police contingent by climbing on top of the armoured personnel carriers. Police resorted to switching on their sirens in a bid to get the students off, but this did not deter them.

One police Nyala moved off and then stopped suddenly, sending one student sprawling to the ground. He got up and rejoined the singing and protesting student body which refused orders to disperse.

Minutes later, police fired stun grenades, sending students scattering, while others were sprayed with water cannons. A small group of people who had decided to take shelter under the Pleinpark premises in Plein street were sprayed with water until security opened the door for them. One lady cried and said: “I was just on my way to work, why?”

In response, students began to chop up bricks on the side of the pavements, getting ready to throw it at the police. During the skirmishes, one student was hit in the back of the head with a large brick, rendering him unconscious and with blood pouring from a head wound.

African News Agency and Young Independent