At approximately 02h00 on Wednesday 5 October, student protesters mobilised to upper campus residences of the University Currently Known as Rhodes (UCKAR).
The crowd of roughly 100 students made their way up the hill, mobilising students from various residences. Members of the crowd gained access into said residences in order to further mobilise students. During this time students gathered flammable materials from the campus. Small fires were lit outside of Walker House and Thomas Pringle Houses.
The crowd then continued to move down the hill of Prince Alfred Street creating a barricade in front of the Nelson Mandela parking lot using various materials such as tyres and construction items. Police presence was noted on campus as they drove to the barricade at Nelson Mandela Hall parking lot. The police van then turned around and moved back down Prince Alfred Street. Members of Nelson Mandela Hall put out the fire at the barricade for fear of the fire spreading, as it had already set the grass alight on the pavement. The fire brigade was then called to ensure that the fire was indeed out.
As the crowd moved down the hill towards Purple Square, it grew greatly in numbers. A further barricade and fire was started at the intersection of South and Prince Alfred Streets, blocking off access to the campus from this entrance. The crowd then moved to Purple Square – in front of the Drama Department – and barricaded Prince Alfred Street with benches, bins, and other objects. These objects were subsequently set alight.
The police then arrived on the scene lining up along Prince Alfred Street facing the barricades. The police did not exit their vehicles or engage with students at this time. The students then decided to move to the Steve Biko building in order to strategise their movements for the morning, deciding to then barricade Eden Grove. During this time, the fire at Purple Square had been put out.
The police and the fire brigade gained access to the campus via the South Street access gate from the Settlers’ Monument road off campus. The protesters continued to sing in the presence of the police and then moved away. Further entrances near the Fine Arts department on Somerset Street were barricaded after this.
The police are yet to engage with students, however it is a commonly held sentiment that the police are waiting for reinforcements before they engage with such a large crowd of students.
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