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Cop faces probe for aiming handgun at protesting students

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A policeman is under investigation after allegedly aiming his handgun at protesting students in an attempt to “frighten them”. Shown photographs, national police spokesman Brigadier Sally de Beer said the policeman had been identified and an investigation had been launched to establish the facts. The police are not allowed to use firearms for crowd control.

“We are looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident. If there is a decision taken that the officer has contravened any standing order or law, we will take further action,” said De Beer.

The Pretoria West policeman was among police and private security guards responding to protest violence that broke out at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria on Thursday.

The students blocked the entrances of campus residences with burning tyres and hurled rocks and petrol bombs, resulting in damage to police vehicles and the gutting of a guard house.

University spokesman Willa de Ruyter said academic activities would continue today despite the protests, under tight security and police presence.

“An application by the university to interdict all disruptive activities was heard in the Pretoria High Court. The interdict was granted,” she said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg magistrate Mercia Boikhutso denied bail to 11 University of KwaZulu-Natal students arrested last month in connection with violence that rocked the institution three weeks ago.

The students, aged between 21 and 28, have been in custody since September 22. They have said they intend pleading not guilty to charges of public violence, failure to comply with police orders and interfering with the police in carrying out their duties, assaulting police officers, malicious damage to university property and vehicles, and contempt of court.

Boikhutso freed four students on bail of R1000 each. The students will appear in court again on December 2.

Cape Town University of Technology engineering student Byron Dick, 26, appeared yesterday in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on charges of attempted murder, arson and public violence.

He was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the torching of the university’s Bellville campus security control room, in which three security guards had taken shelter.

Dick’s advocate, Carlos Langeveldt, said his client had been staying off-campus with his girlfriend near Stellenbosch because of the protest action. He had planned to apply to another university to escape the mayhem.

“He said he saw the students running and he was on his way back to his residence. And because he had nothing to do with them, and didn’t want to be part of them, he just walked,” said Langeveldt.

“The next moment he was grabbed [by the police].”

[Source: Times Live]
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