University of Free State suspends lectures after Varsity Cup violence

The University of Free State rugby pitch. (Gallo)

The University of Free State rugby pitch. (Gallo)

All academic activity has been suspended at the university following clashes between rugby supporters and protesters.

The University of Free State on Monday announced that it was suspending academic activities.

An SMS sent to students read: “UFS Bfn Campus closed 23-24 Feb 2016 due to strike and protest. Safety of staff and students our priority.” 

Students had apparently gone on the rampage and vandalised two men’s hostels. Unconfirmed allegations from insiders were that white students were being assaulted on campus. 

This comes after a video, reportedly taken on campus on Monday afternoon, showed rugby players and supporters assaulting a group of protesters who had gone on to the field, disrupting the FNB Varsity Cup rugby match between the UFS Shimlas and the Madibaz. 

Students who had taken part in the #OutsouringMustFall movement later released a statement condemning the violence. 

“Workers were protesting today demanding the implementation of last year’s agreement to end outsourcing and demanding the reinstatement of Trevor Shaku, a leader of #OutsourcingMustFall and the Socialist Youth Movement, who was dismissed from his post as a research assistant at the university for his role in the campaign,” the students said. 

Struggle and solidarity
The students alleged that the UFS management, colluding with the police, were trying to dismantle the campaign and intimidate workers and students.

It was alleged that 34 students had been arrested following disruptions at the university. 

The protesting students have called on white students to support them in their cause. 

“One of the best features of the #FeesMustFall movement was the unity of black and white. Struggle and solidarity overcame racial divisions.

“We call on white students to mobilise alongside their black brothers and sisters to protest against reactionary attempts to divert this class struggle into a racial conflict,” the students said. 

The University of Free State did not immediately provide further details on the situation. – News24

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