Arrested UKZN protesters appear in court

“Shooting us won’t stop us from fighting” says student leader

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Photo of teargas smothering building
Teargas covers a building on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Eleven UKZN protesters who were arrested two weeks ago will make their fourth appearance in court on Thursday. Eight other protesters who were arrested last Friday will also appear in the Pietermaritzburg magistrate court on Thursday.

Police arrested eight more protesters on Monday, when teargas and rubber bullets were used to disperse protesters. The eight have not yet been charged.

According to Fees Must Fall activist Xola Mehlomakulu, 27 students have been arrested by the police since the start of recent Fees Must Fall protests. The arrested protesters are facing five charges of malicious damage to property, common assault, and public violence, contamination of high court order and possession of dangerous weapons.

In court today was another group of three students. In a court full of supporters of the protesters, the state argued that it is opposing bail as the accused might continue with violent behaviour.

The magistrate postponed the matter to Friday for additional documentation such as the transcripts of academic records of the protesters.

Mehlomakulu said he was disappointed with the court. He accused the police of using teargas inside a residence and arresting people merely because they looked suspicious. “Police keep on arresting us and now they are keeping students in jail. This is unfair. We are very angry and hurt.” He said the laws and courts are “not here to serve us.”

“Our comrades will come out and we are keeping our word: we will continue fighting. They won’t stop us. Shooting us won’t stop us from fighting.”

Meanwhile the DSTL Hall and TV Lounge in Malherbe residence were burnt by protesters yesterday.  

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TOPICS:  Tertiary Education

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