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Police fire stun grenades at students at Union Buildings, Wits

A large group of students were prevented from entering the gates to the Union Buildings.

University students marching to the Union Buildings for free, decolonised and quality education on 20 October 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police have fired stun grenades to disperse groups of students at both the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Wits University in Braamfontein.

A large group of students have been prevented from entering the gates to the Union Buildings.



Students had thrown rocks and other objects at officers, who then retaliated with stun grenades.

Theres a heavy police presence, with officers stationed along the fence separating the lawn and several police Nyalas parked near the presidential office.



Student leader Fasiha Hassan says a number of students have been injured and are being treated on campus.

They were totally unarmed and police opened fire at a very close range. Students were injured while they were running away.

Several Wits students were injured during clashes with police on campus, includingtwo student leaders.



Fees Must Fall student leader Vuyani Tambo says theyre angry about the polices heavy-handed actions.

He says leaders Shaheera Kalla and Busisiwe Seabe are among several students whove been hurt.

Kalla has been shot more than 10 times on the same spot, suggesting its a clear targeting and students are very angry.



HEAVY POLICE PRESENCE AROUND UNION BUILDINGS

After a brief confrontation, about 100 protesters remain on the lawn of the Union Buildings.

A police helicopter and aircraft circled over the Union Buildings, where police officers in armoured vehicles moved down to the lawns.

Several stun grenades were used earlier when a group of protesters tried to force open a locked gate.

Most of the students have left the area, however the group which remains is peaceful.

The students were demanding government provide free education and for the police to leave university campuses across the country.

The Tshwane metro police had declared the march unlawful, but after negotiations this morning, allowed it to go ahead.

The police have maintained a heavy presence in the area around the Union Buildings.



Meanwhile, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) workers are calling for the institution to end outsourcing.

Management is currently holding a general assembly attended by students, staff members and outsourced workers at its Cape Town campus.

The gathering is discussion a number of issues, ranging from the demand for free education and the scrapping of student debt.

National Health Education and Allied Workers Union's Yvonne Choma says, The union supports the call for insourcing.

Students also want charges against 12 students - who were arrested this week - to be dropped.

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