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5 Rhodes University students due in court

The so-called Reference List protest is demanding the expulsion of 11 male students accused of rape.

FILE: Rhodes University students protested on 20 April 2016 and called on management to deal with students accused of rape. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

GRAHAMSTOWN - Five Rhodes University students will appear in the Grahamstown Magistrates Court this afternoon after being arrested during an anti-rape demonstration on the institution's main campus.

Earlier today, around 200 students protested along the road leading into the campus and barricaded it with furniture and rubble.

It's the third day of the so-called Reference List protest which is demanding that Rhodes University expel 11 male students accused of rape.

WATCH: Rhodes student suffers panic attack in police van.

Police say this morning's gathering became aggressive and an order was given for officers to open fire with rubber bullets, pepper spray and stun grenades.

The university law society has been co-ordinating the legal representation of the students who were arrested during this morning's protest.

Police claim the demonstration turned violent when the students started pelting the police with rocks, but they deny this.

Earlier, the protest organisers claimed seven people had been arrested and two of them are international students.

The number of people taken into custody has since been revised down to five.

LISTEN: University VC on his plea for the release of his students.

The students have accused the university's vice-chancellor of not taking their rape complaints seriously and about 500 students have come out to protest in support of the cause.

Academic activity at the institution has been suspended for the day.

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