Johannesburg – Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at protesting students at Witwatersrand University (Wits) on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesting students, who had entered the Wits main campus, marched around lecture rooms shouting and calling on those inside to “get out”. The students are protesting for free education.
Shirona Patel, the spokesperson for Wits, appealed to students and staff attending lectures to remain indoors until the police were able to bring the situation under control.
Economic Freedom Fighters’ national chairperson Advocate Dali Mpofu, who was at the Wits campus, said that he was there in support of the students with no political hat, but as a parent and South African citizen.
“If police want to shoot our children, they must shoot us,” said Mpofu.
The protests, which caused the university to shut down last week, started more than two weeks ago after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that state universities could hike next year’s fees capped at eight percent.
The troubled university was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday after weeks of protests for free education made it impossible for academic activities to continue.
Earlier on Tuesday Wits management said two students had been arrested for disobeying police orders.
Student leader Busisiwe Seabe was one of those arrested.
The students would be suspended, the university said.