#WitsShutDown: About 30 students arrested, protesters plan march to police station

As day two of student protests at the University of the Witswatersrand got under way, about 31 students from the university were arrested early on Tuesday morning as they attempted to shut down the university. Protesters plan to march to Hillbrow police station to demand that students be released.

Some news reports indicate that just 10 people were arrested as they blockaded the Wits entrance in Braamfontein, but Daily Vox journalist Mohammed Jameel Abdulla, who was also detained, said he had been forced into a police van with around 14 students. Abdulla was released, but the students remain detained waiting for legal representation.

Back at campus, students are continuing to protest and shut down the university amid a heavy police presence in the hope that the academic programme will be suspended, and management will be forced to engage with student demands. The priority for protesters is free education.

Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib has yet to address the large group of protesting students, but on Tuesday morning the university issued a statement to say that 10 students had been arrested for blockading the Braamfontein entrance, and a further 21 had been detained for disobeying the police.

The university has yet to announce a shutdown, but said that students should leave classes that are being disrupted. Currently, protesters have disrupted classes on the medical school campus in Parktown, and have spread to Wits’ main campus and the education campus.

As students continue to protest for free education, the university said that, should anyone participate in the disruption of classes, they will be arrested. Plans are being made for students to march to the Hillbrow police station where their fellow protesters are being held. 

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Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
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