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18 Mar 2008 15:05
At least three protesting students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus were wounded by police firing rubber bullets on Tuesday, the students’ representative council (SRC) said.
Police spokesperson Inspector Joey Jeevan said officers used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd at 10am. “We have not yet confirmed how many were struck by the bullets, but no one was hospitalised,” she said.
Police arrested 18 students for participating in an unlawful gathering and for disrupting traffic flow on Alan Paton Road.
The institution’s SRC president, Mabandla Ndlangamandla, said three students were struck by rubber bullets without any warning shots having been fired.
Hundreds of students began protesting on Monday over issues including racism, accommodation and assaults by police on students living in residences.
A memorandum detailing students’ concerns was handed to the university’s management on Monday.
Reports that lectures had been postponed indefinitely could not be confirmed. Ndlangamandla said that certain lectures were still continuing. “The campus has not been completely shut down,” he said.
The SRC met the university management on Monday evening but no agreement was reached.
“We don’t know when we will meet with them again because right now we are working on getting our comrades out of jail,” Ndlangamandla said. He also disputed police reports that the protest was an “unlawful gathering”.—Sapa
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