Calm restored, 14 arrested at UP student protest

Clashes erupted earlier after the police extinguished a tyre the students had set alight using petrol.

Earlier, students gathered outside of the University of Pretoria to protest against the language policy. Picture: Barry Bateman.

JOHANNESBURG - Calm has returned to the streets around the University of Pretoria in Hatfield following clashes earlier between the police and demonstrators.

About 200 students gathered at the institution's main gate, where the police opened fire with rubbers bullets while the students threw stones.

The group is demanding that Afrikaans be scrapped as a medium of instruction.

At least 14 students have been detained at the Brooklyn Police Station on charges of public violence.

Clashes erupted earlier after the police extinguished a tyre the students had set alight using petrol.

The Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) Lungile Sonwabo says they're demonstrating against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction because it entrenches a racist culture.

"We are against the whole Afrikaans structure of the University of Pretoria; that's the Afrikaans language, residence culture, Rag and stuff like that. All of that cultivates Afrikaans supremacy."

All the streets around the university have be re-opened to traffic.

Meanwhile, clashes also erupted between members of the EFF student command and Afriforum Youth.

They have opposing views to the #AfrikaansMustFall campaign.

EFF student leader, Kabelo Mahlobogwane, says despite all university courses also being provided in English, the use of dual languages for teaching is splitting students.

"There won't be any unity between the two groups. Students are now forced to relate at two different universities at one institution and the problem is that when they go to the workplace, they are forced to work together."

But Morne Mostert of Afriforum Youth says instead of fighting against the use of Afrikaans, there should be a movement to have students educated in their mother tongue.

"It is correct for people to say the universities must make sure that they must implement a language policy, not only for Afrikaans but also Xhosa."