Escalating SA student protests close Pretoria, Witwatersrand campuses
Student protests in South Africa escalated on Monday as both the University of Pretoria and nearby Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) were forced to suspend classes and close their doors.
The day began with tires burned on the main TUT campus as students continued protests over high tuition and fees, The Independent reported. Groups of students clashed with police in riot gear, with social media reports of rubber bullets used to clear students from Kingsway Avenue as student protests reignited at University of Johannesburg Auckland.
The protests have swept across South African university campuses, in a resurgence of the 2015 #feesmustfall student movement that resulted in violent outbreaks last fall and again in spring. The protest movement was first sparked at TUT when students with outstanding fees were prevented from registering, and quickly spread to University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and others.
New protests also have closed the University of the Witwatersrand, where academic officials said they are “extremely concerned about the unfolding and growing crisis in the higher education sector” and called for urgent meetings between university and government officials.
The student newspaper at Witwatersrand said university officials are confirming the death of a worker who last week was overcome by fire extinguisher chemicals released by students in a residence hall. The Student Representative Council held a moment of silence for the worker during Monday’s protests, but the university declined any additional comment about circumstances of the death pending investigation.
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