Friday, February 24, 2006

Student riots

Johannesburg (AND) The government has deployed state security agents, heavily armed anti-riot police at universities and tertiary institutions in response to student demonstrations that have rocked the country from last week
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) is leading protests against the 1000 % increase intuition fees resulting in some faculties rising to $90million up from $3 million a semester.The militant stance has seen the students’ body close down government universities and tertiary institutionscountrywide in protests to the new tuition fees

ZINASU secretary general, Promise Nkhwananzi, said thedeployment of the police would not cow them to abandon the demonstrations.

"We will remain resolute and the protests will soonspill into society. We are prepared to make this country ungovernable....the sooner the fees they arereviewed the better.The student movement is prepared and geared to fight the government," Mkhwananzi told AND Authorities at university and tertiary institutionssay the police are defending public property. NUST Director of Information and Publicity, Felix Moyo said: "We have a duty to take measures that we feel would properly protect public property...". National University of Science and Technology Students (NUST) in Bulawayo last Tuesday destroyed property worth several billions of dollars in demonstrations. Twenty-two of the students were arrested and charged for public violence when they appeared in court.On Tuesday, 15 Masvingo Polytechnic students were arrested but later released for taking part in demonstrations.

Students at government institutions have also boycotted lessons in response to the ZINASU calls to lodge all forms of resistance against the new fees. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe said they are fully behind the protests saying, "Labour, lecturersand other bodies need to fight with the students to force the government to review the fees".

Christian Alliance convener, Bishop Levee Kadenge called on the government to engage in talks to solve the crises. "...We call upon the government to embrace a new culture of listening to the students...," said Bishop Kadenge.

A.N.D. could not obtain a comment from Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education officials and the police at the time of going to press.

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