Police in Swaziland reportedly used water cannon from a Casspir armoured vehicle and batons to disperse students protesting about examination fees.
It happened at Gwamile Vocational and Commercial Training Institute (VOCTIM) on Monday (3 April 2017).
The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported, ‘During the clash, some students were allegedly assaulted with batons by the police from their hostel to the institution’s gate and the Casspir and water cannon were used to drive them away from the establishment towards the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), Kwaluseni Campus.’
Students had boycotted classes and demonstrated inside the college.
The Times reported, ‘Their main grievance was that last Thursday, government-sponsored students were sent home by the administration to ask for E6,000 (US$420) examination fee. Apparently, government had not paid this fee.’ In Swaziland seven in ten people live in abject poverty with incomes less than US$2 per day.
Later, the Swazi National Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula told a press conference the vehicle used was not a Casspir but an nyala. He reportedly said, ‘Police vehicles will be used when need be.’
The Times reported, ‘The commissioner said nyala, Casspirs and water cannons were procured by the government with taxpayers’ money to be used in events of rioting crowds.’
SWAZI POLICE FIRE AT STUDENTS
STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE