UCT students attempt to occupy building overnight

A UCT spokesperson says that students stormed a building last night, breaking windows and doors.

FILE: UCT protesters interrupt a student meeting on Upper Campus. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

CAPE TOWN - UCT remains tense after students clashed with security in the early hours of this morning.

The students have been intensifying efforts to disrupt academic activities. The university's management, however, is adamant that it will continue operating normally, as it desperately tries to complete the final few weeks of the academic year.

A black spot where a petrol bomb went off dots the Jammie Plaza, evidence of overnight violence.

A group of demonstrators had tried to re-occupy the Steve Biko Students' Union Building last night but were prevented from doing so by security guards.

UCT management says protesters then went on the rampage, pelting guards with rocks. Some managed to access the building and broke windows.

Police then moved in and set off stun grenades to disperse the group. At least one guard was injured in the clash.

The building was secured with new locks and private security were placed at entrances to ensure the group did not reoccupy the building.

UCT'S Gerda Kruger says: "They stormed the building, breaking doors and windows and the security tried to protect the building by forming a human chain but it was breached and several of the students entered the building. Several petrol bombs were also thrown, starting fires in some of the parking areas."

A small group of protesting students are currently gathering opposite the Geological Science Building.

At least a dozen security guards are monitoring the group.

More private security are placed at various points across campus.

The Steve Biko Students' Union Building has also been locked, after demonstrators tried to occupy it yesterday.

With UCT on edge this morning following overnight violence, at least one staff member has voiced his frustrations at continued attempts by protesting students to disrupt academic activities.

But UCT academic Graham Mayel says violent protests won't help their cause.

"I don't want to see an institution destroyed by a bunch of... what? Who are these people? They don't represent the masses of the student body. Very clearly, they are not doing anything positive."