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#UCT students arrested in overnight protests out on bail

The students were taken into custody when protests over a shortage of student accommodation turned ugly.

Parents and students at the Wynberg Magistrates Court where eight protesting students appeared after being arrested at UCT last night on charges of malicious damage to property and public violence. 17 Feb 2016 Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.
UCT,Rhodes Must Fall,UCT student protest,UCT housing protest
Local

CAPE TOWN – Eight students arrested during violent demonstrations at the University of Cape Town (UCT) last night have been released on bail.

They were taken into custody when protests over a shortage of student accommodation turned ugly.

The group appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates Court earlier this morning.

Seven of them were granted bail of R1,000 each while the other accused was handed bail of R800.

The group of students appeared nervous as they stood in the dock this morning. 

Their court appearance was brief and the matter was postponed to later this month.

‘Rhodes Must Fall’ leaders are collecting R7,800 to secure the bail.

WATCH: UCT protesters dispersed with stun grenades & rubber bullets

Meanwhile, one supporter is confident they'll be able to raise the necessary money.

“There are parents here who want to pay for their children. But we’ve asked them to wait a bit so that we pay as a collective to get everybody out.”

The group has been charged with malicious damage to property and public violence.

MEDIA BRIEFED

At the same time, UCT executive members gathered at the Bremner Building to brief the media on yesterday's violent protests.

Vice Chancellor Max Price refuted claims by some 'Rhodes Must Fall' protesters that there is a lack of accommodation for black students, saying about 70 percent of beds in the institution’s residences are occupied by black students. 

University management also says it's working around the clock to get students who haven't been placed into permanent accommodation. 

Price confirmed six students have been suspended following last night's violence. 

He says while management respects the right to protest, the university draws the line at criminality.

SILENT PROTEST

A small group of protesters are staging a silent protest in the Bremner Building entrance.

No more than 20 students are lying flat on their backs.

Some are holding placards, covering their faces, with messages such as ‘No to academic exclusion’ and ‘Check your privilege’.

None of the protesters want to give their names as they claim Price will suspend them.

Two of the students, who refuse to confirm whether they're part of Rhodes Must Fall, say the only reason last night's protest turned violent is because the university was violent towards them.

Meanwhile, there are mixed reactions from some students and staff at UCT following the protests.

Some UCT students seem indifferent, but others say while they accept and respect the right to protest, they are unhappy demonstrations turned violent

One student believes violence is not the answer.

“Burning things that are of historic value … what does that solve? That doesn’t solve anything. They’re protesting, moving two steps forward but five back.”

It’s business as usual at the campus as lectures are underway albeit under tight security. 

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)

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