Tensions high after UFS rugby game brawl

Outsourcing Must Fall protesters & spectators clashed at a Varsity Cup rugby game last night.

Students and protesters clash during a rugby match at the University of the Free State on 22 February 2016. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - The University of the Free State (UFS) has suspended classes for the next two days and has launched an urgent investigation following a brawl between Outsourcing Must Fall protesters and spectators at a Varsity Cup rugby game last night.

The protesters, who have demanded an end to outsourced employment of cleaners at the institution, disrupted last night's game between UFS and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

When they made their way towards the halfway line in the 17th minute, clashes ensued and several protesters were beaten.

In a statement issued on its website, UFS condemned the violence against protesters that followed the disruption of the game.

It says the institution's private security officials were outnumbered and several people were injured and treated by paramedics on site.

UFS also says both the protesters and spectators were joined by people who are not students at the university.

SRC President Lindokuhle Ntuli says the fight spread from the sports ground to the reses.

"We were a minority when we were on the sports ground. The students were very angry. They'd already started going into their residences, confronting and retaliating the guys that were beating at them." [sic]

The university says it will study footage of what happened on the field as part of its investigation.