NORMALCY has resumed at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) following the violent skirmishes that rocked the institution on Monday after students protested, demanding a quick resolution to a month-long strike by lecturers.
BY SILAS NKALA/ SHARON SIBINDI
At least 69 students were detained at Bulawayo Central Police Station and released the same day, after paying admission of guilty fines after they had shut down the main campus and barricaded the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway.
NUST students representative council spokesperson Innocent Dombo said “the majority of the lecturers are back in class, classes have resumed”.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights yesterday revealed that several students sustained injuries after police officers set dogs on them to stop the demonstrations.
“In response to the protest, the Zimbabwe Republic Police officers rounded up the protesting students and detained them at Bulawayo Central Police Station after rolling out water cannons to suppress the students’ demonstration,” ZLHR said.
After the students’ arrest, ZLHR deployed its team of lawyers including Cynthia Nunu and Nosimilo Chanayiwa to offer emergency legal support services to the 69 arrested students.
The lawyers’ organisation said the police officers at the station wanted to charge the students with criminal nuisance or disorderly conduct as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The students had to pay admission of guilty fines to be released.
“Although ZLHR lawyers had advised the students about the consequences of paying admission of guilty fines, they proceeded to pay some admission of guilty fines after admitting to committing the charge of disorderly conduct as defined in Section 41 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and they were all released late on Monday,” ZLHR said.
“Prior to the release of the students, ZLHR lawyers had earlier requested that they be released to allow them to access medical treatment for the dog bites, a request which the ZRP officers did not entertain. By late Monday evening, some of the 18 injured students had started accessing treatment at some medical facilities offered by ZLHR’s partners in the country’s second largest city.”
Meanwhile, the Alliance for People’s Agenda (APA), has condemned the arrest of the protesting NUST students.
In a statement, APA youth said they stand in solidarity with the students in protest against administration’s shortcomings and condemned the deployment of police to attack the learners.
“If anything, the law should be applied against those in violation of such contracts. We call all youths to stand together in solidarity with Nust students as we march peacefully on their behalf,” APA said.