#Fees2017: Private security guards throw rocks at students at UJ Doornfontein campus

University of Johannesburg students are clashing with private security guards after they were barred from entering the Doornfontein campus. (Simon Fidelis, M&G)

University of Johannesburg students are clashing with private security guards after they were barred from entering the Doornfontein campus. (Simon Fidelis, M&G)

Students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) marched to the UJ Doornfontein campus from the main campus on Kingsway Road. The students were peaceful but once they arrived to enter the Doornfontein campus, private security threw rocks at the students and pepper sprayed them.

Along the route, police escorted students and provided support by directing traffic and keeping students in their protest line away from oncoming cars.

The mood was vibrant throughout the march, with residents in Braamfontein and Hillbrow raising their fists in solidarity with the students.

Earlier in the day, private security at the UJ Kingsway campus threw rocks and pepper sprayed students to remove them from campus. The students then occupied Kingsway Road and public order policing units told them to return to campus or they would respond with their arsenal.

The students attempted to return to the main campus but private security guards from the Fidelity firm refused to open the gates. They then decided to march to the Doornfontein campus to increase their numbers.

When they arrived and tried to enter, chaos erupted. As students pushed against the gates, Fidelity guards threw rocks and lashed out with pepper spray. Two journalists were injured with pepper spray in the fray, with one being hit in the stomach.

Students asked police for help after the police witnessed the attack by private security.

The students later clashed with private security and police, with the latter firing rubber bullets in response. The police cleared up some of the roads, but the situation remained volatile, with several protesters still on the streets.  

The South African National Editors’ Forum expressed outrage at the attacks on journalists by UJ security during the protest at the university on Wednesday night.

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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