South African police say they have so far arrested 831 people in connection with the student protests over fees at the country’s institutions of higher learning and training for offences such as violence, intimidation and malicious damage to property.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) acting National Commissioner, General Kgomotso Phahlane, who briefed media here Friday on policing and security matters regarding the students’ #FeesMustFall protests, attributed the high number of arrests to the violent nature of the protests.
A number of incidents had taken place which had involved unruly behaviour, criminality, the destruction of property and public violence, among other acts, he said.
“When the protests began they were inside the campuses, but now they have gone on a rampage outside the universities and are torching cars. This is evidence that the protests have been infiltrated by criminal behaviour,” Phahlane told journalists.
He said with the protests continuing to be disruptive and violent, police would not be apologetic in executing their duties. “The violence and criminal acts being committed on campuses have invited the presence of the police. The SAPS will not be apologetic in the execution of the mandate provided for in the Constitution.”
On Wednesday, a protest under the banner of #FeesMustFall was attended by more than 2,000 people in Cape Town. The protest turned violent around the Parliament precinct with some in the crowd vandalising cars and breaking shop windows forcing police members to respond with stun grenades to disperse them.
Among the acts of criminality committed was an incident caught on camera of a young man breaking the window of a police vehicle.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.