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31 South African university students arrested during protest against tuition fees

31 South African university students arrested during protest against tuition fees

South Africa

31 students of Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University have been arrested on Tuesday after clashes with police during tuition fee hike protest on the school’s campus.

The police confirmed the arrests saying the students blocked the entrance of the University which is against the law.

There is absolutely no reason for this protest because the overwhelming majority of these students are going to be experiencing a no fee increase in both universities and college.

“31 Wits students arrested this morning for contravening a court order by obstructing or preventing any person from entering or leaving the precinct of the University,” the police tweeted.

In an email to students, the university had asked the police to intervene and arrest individuals who violate the standing court order obtained against the previous #FeesMustFall protest in October 2015.

Angry students are reported to have attacked vehicles entering the campus and also clashed with police who tried to disperse the students.

The protests erupted on Monday after the Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande’s announcement of an 8% cap on fee increases for universities.

He emphasized that universities would have to individually decide how much will be paid and also the increase will not affect students under government aid.

The students have however rejected the adjustments and protests have extended to other universities including the University of Pretoria and University of Cape Town.

The Higher Education Minister has called on students not to disrupt academic activities and endanger other students.

“There is absolutely no reason for this protest because the overwhelming majority of these students are going to be experiencing a no fee increase in both universities and college,” he said on Tuesday morning.

Witwatersrand, which a year ago led the “FeesMustFall” campaign has called for nationwide protests in universities for free and quality education.

“There’s a variety of ways in which we are going to do it, but we are also saying that we need to have unity within the student movement,” a member of the students’ union, Fasiha Hassan told local media.

Academic programmes are however ongoing while students from other campuses of the school are meeting at the main campus to continue the protest.

Meanwhile, the University of Cape Town has suspended lectures for Tuesday and Wednesday.

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