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S. African students in court over violent protest

Cape Town – Six students on Thursday appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court to face charges of treason, assault and contravening the National Key Points Act.

The students were arrested during a violent protest against tuition fee hikes outside Parliament on Wednesday.

However, dozens of people were gathering outside the court to show their support for the students.

Police filed the lawsuit accusing the six students of high treason, which consist of any conduct unlawfully committed by a person owing allegiance to a state.

According to them, the charges are the intention of overthrowing the government, cursing the government by violence into any action or inaction, violating, threatening or endangering its existence.

Others are independence or security of the republic and changing the constitutional structure of the republic.
In Wednesday’s protest, thousands of students assembled outside parliament, demanding a zero increase in the proposed 2016 tuition fees.

They clashed with Police when trying to break into parliament, while they used stun grenades to disperse the students.
Dozens of students were arrested but later released, while six students remained behind bars because of the seriousness of the charge.

The government has proposed a 6 per cent tuition fee hike, but students have rejected the proposal.

Also the Presidency said South African President Jacob Zuma would meet with the management and leadership of universities, as well as student leaders in Pretoria on Friday, to discuss the stalemate.

Zuma met university vice-chancellors and chairperson of councils on Oct. 6 and they agreed to establish a task team to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges.

He said then that the government fully understands the pressure and difficulties that students coming from poor households and the working class face with regards to high university fees.

The nationwide protests were triggered by all major universities planning to increase tuition fees ranging from 10 to 50 per cent for the 2016 school year, after the government cut education funding.


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