Cape Town law students document shocking uprising from inside university in wake of tuition fee increases

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By Katie King on

Petrol bombs on campus and security guards injured


The University of Cape Town (UCT) is experiencing a shocking period of violence and unrest, and it’s all being documented through a law student Twitter account.

Acting under the guise of the ‘Fees Must Fall’ movement — similar in name to the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ movement experienced at both UCT and the University of Oxford — students at the top university have been protesting against the South African government’s increase in tuition fees.

Though it’s believed some of the students earlier cries were met with sympathy, the protests have taken an ugly turn.

According to the Twitter account @UCTLawStudents — which is run by “anonymous law student(s) at UCT” — recent weeks have seen the protests descend into violent chaos. The police and security services have been called in.

A number of timetables and graduation ceremonies at the university, which is ranked similarly to the University of Nottingham in The Timesworldwide league table, have had to be rescheduled in light of the discord.

Two security guards were “significantly” injured during the unrest; one was “beaten up” by a group of protesters while another was hurt when a rock dropped from the Students’ Union landed on his head.

It’s also been reported that faeces was thrown into the university’s law faculty (the Wilfred & Jules Kramer Law Building).

Particularly shockingly, petrol bombs with nails inside were also found on campus.

Similar incidents have been happening in other universities. At the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, for example, the library was set on fire.

Though these incidents of violence and vandalism show no signs of letting up, a ray of sunlight is beginning to peek through the clouds in the form of the #illstudywithyou trend.

Using this hashtag, Twitter users have reached out to students caught up in the protests to offer Wi-Fi and other study facilities.