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Students Burn Artwork, Vehicles in Escalation of U Cape Town Protests

February 18, 2016
 

Student protestors at the University of Cape Town on Tuesday night burned artwork, set a shuttle bus and a research vehicle on fire, and petrol bombed the vice chancellor’s office, according to the university. Eight students were arrested and six suspended.

The night of vandalism began after students associated with the Rhodes Must Fall movement refused a university request to move a shack they had erected to protest what they describe as discrimination against black students in the allocation of university housing. The university -- which had asked students to move the shack to an alternative location, citing traffic blockage and safety concerns -- denies claims of discrimination and says that three-quarters of students in university housing are black. Cape Town reports having 6,800 beds, enough for about a quarter of its 27,000 students.

The Rhodes Must Fall movement coalesced at Cape Town last spring around a successful effort to bring about the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes, the British imperialist and diamond magnate who donated the land for Cape Town's campus, and describes itself as a “student, staff and worker movement mobilizing against institutional white supremacist capitalist patriarchy for the complete decolonization of UCT.” The group posted on its Facebook page a link to an Eyewitness News video showing police dispersing protesters with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

 
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