A student leader in Swaziland has described police violence at the kingdom’s main university as a ‘war’.
Maxwell Dlamini, President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Swaziland (Uniswa), was commenting after police raided dormitories and dragged students from their rooms. Later they beat up the students at local police stations.
Students had wanted examinations due to start on Monday (18 November 2013) postponed. They said a long-running dispute between students and the university that had closed the campus earlier in the semester meant that teaching could not be completed before the exams started.
Armed police stood guard outside examination halls on Monday as the Uniswa Administration attempted to hold the exams.
Dlamini was reported in the students’ own on-line newspaper Uniswa Today saying, ‘The university together with the police who, instead of engaging us in a dialogue but resorted to bringing heavily armed police, actually raged the war.’
He added, ‘One must condemn the violence perpetrated by the university administration in collaboration with the police. If you do not want to engage in critical dialogue with the hope that you will use the police to silence people who want to raise issues, there is bound to be conflict.’
Dlamini said things would have turned out differently if the university had not brought in state security.
‘I do not want to believe that the students were perpetrating any violence. When you come into the institution of higher learning armed with [teargas] canisters it means you are preparing for war – you are actually instigating violence. I believe that had there been no police officers at the university things would have turned out very differently.’
STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE
POLICE FLEE ROOMS AS POLICE ATTACK