UCT Campus Police Clash With Student Protesters

Students who were told to stay indoors due to the threat of failing their exams were then confronted by police. Student leaders are now calling for the dismissal of the acting Vice Chancellor. They claim that the university’s management placed the students in danger by allowing riot police onto the campus.

On February 17, 2023, UCT issued an interdict against the actions that were disrupting the students’ ability to access its campuses.

It was then reported that the Student Representatives Council’s (SRC) protest actions had started to slow down. However, they maintained that they were still engaged in discussions with the Council. On March 7, the SRC updated the students about the ongoing discussions between them and the Council.

In a statement, they mentioned the following:

The SRC held a mass meeting to reject the outcome of the interdict. The demonstrations continued until the Executive body of the University of Cape Town agreed to ask the SAPS to intervene in cases of disruption that went against the court’s order.

Due to the ongoing dispute between the SRC and the Executive Body of the University of Cape Town, the SRC called for a protest on the 10th of March. Although the protest was peaceful, the SAPS responded with force.

The situation became chaotic as students who were not involved in the protests were told to stay on the Middle Campus. This led to some of them getting involved in the scuffles with the police. The students claimed that the building’s doors were locked, which prevented them from leaving.

In a statement, the SRC accused the University of using force against students who were asked to stay in the Kramer building. They also claimed that the university threatened them with their examinations.

According to the SRC, the police used stun guns on the protesters. They also claimed that racial profiling was carried out during the incident, saying the following:

Varsity News at UCT reported that two students had been arrested and two others were injured following an incident at Rondebosch.

The protests then moved to the Upper Campus of UCT. They are reportedly demanding the removal of Sue Harrison, the acting vice- chancellor. As of March 10, the demonstrations have been moving between different campuses.

The spokesperson for UCT has not yet responded to our request for comment.

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