12 October 2016 | Naeemah Dudan | Video: Sanil Lala
Naeemah Dudan is a 2nd year Bachelor of Arts student at Wits University. She writes for Salaamedia. This is what she experienced on Tuesday, 11 October 2016.
I walked into Wits University this morning hoping to find the police gone. I was hoping for a miracle. I was hoping that they would be ashamed at shooting a religious leader. But there they stood in their unwarranted glory with their guns ready to fire.
While Wits continued the academic programme today many students who had come in hope of attending lectures were stuck in the middle of a war zone. Vice Chancellor Adam Habib has put the lives of civilians in danger. According to Shirona Patel, Wits spokesperson, the police can use whatever force they deem necessary on campus.
Today students gathered in front of the Great Hall singing while police forces roamed campus ready to arrest anyone that disrupted lectures. Protestors were angered by the intimidation of the police and threw stones at the police force.
Police used stun grenades, teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons to deter any group of students from meeting. Several medics on the scene were injured and affected by teargas. Students regrouped later in the afternoon away from police forces and sought sanctuary in the Trinity Church.
Our student leader, Fasiha Hassen speaking at a meeting said, “We know that there is an attempt to hunt down some people, to hunt down those who are ensuring that we continue the movement. We have not been able to sleep in our homes.” She said that they will continue to fight for free, decolonised, quality education and that tactics were to be discussed on how to move forward in taking the fight to government without being attacked.
Wits University has issued a statement saying that despite minor disruptions, the academic programme needs to continue. The executive management has said that they will continue to reach out to engage with students and that lectures continued without any disruptions today.
Many academics who support the movement have refused to teach under the militarisation of the campus. They are calling for the removal of the police force.