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26 May 2004 08:47
Police fired rubber bullets and teargas at a stone-throwing crowd of school children, some as young as 11, near Secunda in Mpumalanga on Tuesday.
The pupils of Kusasa Lethu Secondary School accused headmaster James Jele of misusing school funds and demanded his removal and the return of the money.
Around 260 children locked the gates of the school at 9am, trapping the headmaster inside. Education department officials failed to persuade the children to stop their action.
“They insisted the money that was wasted should first be paid back to the school,” said police Captain Sibongile Nkosi.
Police were finally allowed into the schoolyard to take the headmaster to safety.
The protesters, however, changed their minds, insisting that he be turned over to them.
Nkosi said the police reacted by firing teargas and rubber bullets at the protesters. None of the protesters was hurt. The headmaster was taken under police protection to the police station. He was later released.
The situation at the school was calm by late afternoon, Nkosi said. - Sapa
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