One person dead as police fire rubber bullets at Wits students

At this point, it is unclear if that person is a bystander or a student.

Protest action by students in the Braamfontein Precinct. Jorrisen, Bertha & De Korte Str affected. Picture: @JoburgMPD/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Police have fired rubber bullets and used teargas on a group of Wits University students who are protesting over fees in central Johannesburg on Wednesday, while one person has been shot dead in the violence.

It is unclear if that person is a bystander or a student.

Protesters blocked some roads in the CBD with burning rubble and reportedly threw rocks at officers. On Tuesday, students under the banner "Asinamali" ("we don't have money") blocked roads around the university with rubble earlier, disrupting traffic.

READ: Wits students block Empire Road while protesting over registration issues

Students accused the university management of ignoring the plight of those unable to register for the academic year due to historical debt. About 6,000 students have been financially excluded from the institution.

They're demanding that Wits allow all students with outstanding debt to register for the 2021 academic year, saying many were unable to pay as a result of the economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There's been no confirmation of arrests from the clashes that broke out Wednesday morning.

At the same time, police say they are conducting preliminary investigations to determine the cause of the fatal shooting.

There's a heavy police presence in Braamfontein with students claiming that officers fired rubber bullets at close range.

The police spokesperson Kay Makhubele said: “Paramedics are on the scene and we believe that after they have done their thorough investigation, they will reveal to us what happened.”

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