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

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.

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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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