Talks in The Gambia Fail as President Jammeh Still Refuses to Step Down

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia–The Gambia’s President-Elect Adama Barrow has left the Gambia for Mali as talks failed, and President Yahya Jammeh refused to relinquish power.  President-Elect Barrow will meet with West African leaders at a summit in Mali.  West African leaders as well as the African Union are calling for a smooth transition of power in The Gambia.  The African Union has publicly stated that they will not recognize President Jammeh as the legitimate leader of The Gambia should he continue to refuse to step down on Thursday, the day that President-Elect Barrow is set to take office.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh welcoming Nigeria's leader, Muhammadu Buhari, to Banjul

President Yahya Jammeh welcomes Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari, to the failed talks that took place late Friday in The Gambia. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

As talks failed in The Gambia, The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, addressed the Security Council stating that although the region has seen democratic progress there is still political uncertainty in some states.  The Gambia is one of the West African nations that may face difficulty having a peaceful transition of power since President Jammeh has refused to accept the election results.  The Security Council thanked Chambas for his remarks and decided to remain seized in the matter.

President Jammeh is rejecting election results that are viewed as legitimate by many African nations.  President-Elect Barrow won the presidency by a large majority.  President-Elect Barrow will focus a large amount of his time at the Mali summit seeking help from West African leaders.  After the Mali summit West African leaders may ask Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, to ask the Security Council to deploy troops to The Gambia in the event that President Jammeh does not step down.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Gambia dispute: African Union ‘will not recognise’ President Jammeh – 13 January 2017

BBC Africa – Gambia talks fail as president refuses to step down – 14 January 2017

UN News Centre – Amid progress in West Africa and the Sahel, UN envoy warns of region’s political challenges – 13 January 2017

Yahoo News – Gambian crisis takes centre stage at Mali summit – 14 January 2017

Somali Town Bans Lavish Wedding Spending

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MOGADISHU, Somalia– Beled Hawa, a town in western Somalia, has banned lavish weddings.  Leaders are growing concerned that the large, lengthy, and costly ceremonies are slowing down marriage rates.  Leaders hope this measure will help increase marriages and therefore reduce migration from the area.

somali-wedding.jpg

A wedding of Somali migrants in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo Courtesy of The Independent)

There are many different types of restrictions.  First, is the limit on spending for gifts.  For new household furnishings for the couple, no more than $600 can be spent.  Then, there is a restriction on bride price, which still exists in Somalia.  Brides can be purchased for no more than $150.  Finally,  there are restrictions on the actual ceremony and reception.  No wedding receptions are to be held in hotels, and no more than three goats may be slaughtered to feed guests.

Although none of the new restrictions are aimed at it, Somali wedding celebrations can go on for weeks and leaders hope these restrictions may help curb that.  It is not unusual for a groom to spend $5,000 on a wedding, and some women were refusing to get married if they did not get lavish expensive weddings.  Beled Hawa’s commissioner told BBC that “Islamic teachings indicated that getting married should be cheap.”

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Somali town bans lavish wedding spending – 13 January 2017

The Independent – Somali town bans expensive weddings in bid to reduce migration – 13 January 2017

XOGDOON News – Somali town bans lavish wedding spending – 14 January 2017

WB News – Somali town bans lavish wedding spending – 13 January 2017

Ivory Coast Now Calm After Two Day Mutiny

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch,  Africa Desk Reporter

YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast– Things are now quiet in the Ivory Coast after a mutiny involving the country’s military.  On Friday  January 6th soldiers began a mutiny in Ivory Coast’s second largest city of Bouake.  The soldiers took over the city and demanded that they receive bonus pay.

Street scene in Bouake in Ivory Coast where calm returned after a mutiny by soldiers over pay, 8 January 2017

The streets of Bouake. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

While the main mutiny took place in Bouake other military camps in cities across the Ivory coast took place in the mutiny as well.  The mutiny stopped as Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi brokered a deal that allowed the soldiers to get paid on Monday the 9th.  Reports stated that soldiers were demanding 5 million francs each which is about 8,000 USD.  It is unclear what amount the soldiers received.

Despite the cessation of violence many citizens are still concerned that violence will break out again.  After all, it has only been six years since the end of the countries civil war which lasted ten years.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Ivory Coast unrest: Calm reported after two-day mutiny – 8 January 2017

IOL – Calm in Ivory Coast after Ceasefire – 9 January 2017

Reuters – Streets of Ivory Coast cities calm after soldier mutiny – 8 January 2017

Stratfor – Ivory Coast: A Short Lived Mutiny Comes to an End – 9 January 2017

U.N. Officials Fear South Sudan is on the Brink of Genocide

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

JUBA, South Sudan– Officials at the United Nations are growing concerned that the situation in South Sudan could possibly turn into a genocide.  This conclusion comes as the newest country in the world has experienced increased violence since its creation.  Two years of violence has left about 50,000 people dead.

A refugee sits waiting at a reception centre in a Uganda settlement

A refugee sits in a camp in Uganda, displaced from the conflict in South Sudan. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

Since South Sudan was created the country has seen widespread violence.  Although violence has been present for two years things have picked up since July when aid workers were killed in the capital in Juba and violence increased in the capital city.  The conflict in South Sudan is the result of a rift between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar and other oppositition groups.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – South Sudan refugee crisis: The wooden bridge between death and safety – 16 December 2016

Newsy – How Genocide In South Sudan Could Be Prevented – 21 December 2016

NPR – U.N. Worries South Sudan Is On the Brink of Genocide – 21 December 2016

Radio Tamazuj – Ban Ki-moon warns of imminent genocide in South Sudan – 21 December 2016

 

Opposition Calls on President Jammeh to Step Down after he Rejects Election Results

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia–Opposition leaders in Gambia are calling for President Jammeh to step down after he rejected the countries recent election results.  Originally President Jammeh had accepted the election results and was going to allow for a smooth transition of power to President-elect Adama Barrow.  He has sense changed his mind which is not much of a surprise to the international community that does not have much faith in President Jammeh.  Jammeh has a questionable record as President of the Gambia as he has been accused of human rights violations

Source: Fatu Network

President Jammeh. (Photo Courtesy of Premium Times)

President-elect Adama Barrow has also been calling on Jammeh to step down in order to ensure a good transition.  Because of the countries lack of Supreme Court (it currently only has one justice) an election challenge would surely either drag on for a long time or be unduly influenced by Jammeh as he would appoint the remaining justices.  Either way opposition party members are eager to see Jammeh go not only in order to get the power that they won in the election, but also to ensure that The Gambia does not become a country of chaos after failed elections.

President Jammeh is due to leave office on January 18, 2017 which is the end of his mandate.  Should Jammeh actually step down opposition members have said they are planning to prosecute Jammeh for crimes he committed during office.

For more information, please see:

BBC News – Gambia election row: Yahya Jammeh ‘should step down now’ – 12 December 2016

Joll of News – Gambia: President-elect Rejects Jammeh’s Election Challenge – 12 December 2016

NPR – Gambia’s Opposition Calls On President To Step Down After Election Defeat – 12 December 2016

Premium Times – Gambia election: Jammeh heads to Court – 12 December 2016

Egyptian Journalists Union Head Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

CAIRO, Egypt– The Union Head of Egyptian Journalists was sentenced to two years in prison on November 19th.   Yahia Qalash — the head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate — and board members Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim were convicted for harboring wanted journalists.

Yehia Qallash at a protest rally outside the Journalist Syndicate headquarters in Cairo. Photo: 4 May 2016

Yahia Qalash speaks in front of Union headquarters. (Photo Courtesy BBC)

Prosecutors ordered Qalash, al-Balshy, and Abdel Rahim tried for harboring wanted journalists who spread lies.  These journalists came under fire after they started protests after the Egyptian government turned over two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.  Many Egyptians see this as an unconstitutional, non transparent act.

Qalash, al-Balshy, and Abdel Rahim have the opportunity to appeal their convictions.  In the meantime their bail has been set at $630.  They have the opportunity to go about their business as they await appeal.  This is the first time that the Union Head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate has been arrest in the unions over 75 year history.

Human rights activists are not pleased that Qalash, al-Balshy, and Abdel Rahim were put on trial.  Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer and founder of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said, “This case shouldn’t have gone to court to begin with,…the decision is political…we are not talking about the law and judiciary.”  Dozens of other opposition journalists have been arrested under President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi rule, who has ensured that dissenters are quashed quickly.

For more information, please see: 

ABC News Austrailia – Head of Egypt press union sentenced to two years’ jail for harbouring wanted journalists – 19 November 2016

BBC – Egypt journalist’ union head gets two-year jail term – 19 November 2016

Wall Street Journal – Head of Egyptian Press Union Gets Two Years in Prison – 19 November 2016

Scores Killed in Mozambique Truck Blast

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MAPUTO, Mozambique– 73 are dead and over a hundred are injured in Tete, Mozambique after a truck blast.  The truck, which was carrying petrol from the port city of Beira to Malawi, exploded killing civilians.

A badly injured person arrives at Tete hospital following a fuel-truck explosion

A person injured from the blast arrives at a Tete hospital.  (Photo Courtesy of The Guardian)

It is still unclear under what circumstances the truck exploded.  Officials are exploring whether petrol was being sold at the time or the blast was triggered by a rush of civilians trying to siphon gas.  Government officials have recently raised the price of gas and the country’s currency has not been able to keep up with the increase.  Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest country’s.  Of the countries 24 million citizens more than half live in poverty.  The country gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 and soon after dealt with a 16 year long civil war which ended in 1992.  Since 1992 the country has struggled to end the widespread poverty that the country faces.

Because the blast happened in Tete in western Mozambique medical attention was not immediately near by.  Some victims traveled over 90km to receive medical attention.  The exact death toll of the blast is still developing, and the results of the lack of medical attention nearby will be revealed as the story develops.

For more information, please see: 

BBC News – Mozambique: Scores Killed in Fuel Truck Blast – 17 November 2016

The Guardian – Scores killed in Mozambique fuel-truck blast – 17 November 2016

Indian Express – Mozambique: At least 73 killed, 110 injured in truck blast – 17 November 2016

Zuma Under Fire Amid Reports of Corruption

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

CAPE TOWN, South Africa– President Jacob Zuma is under intense scrutiny after being accused of corruption.  Zuma has been under fire before for misuse of government funds.  A new 355 page report called the ‘State of Capture’ claims that Zuma had an improper relationship with the Gupta Brothers.  The report claims that the Gupta brothers helped Zuma pick key cabinet members.

South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to delegates at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare

Zuma giving a speech. (Photo Courtesy of BBC)

Zuma is a member of the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela that has been ruling South Africa since the end of apartheid.  The party has enjoyed uninterrupted rule despite Zuma’s past issues with corruption.  However, the release of the ‘State of Capture’ is worrying other party members who are calling for a full investigation of Zuma.

Opposition party members are calling for Zuma’s resignation.  Zuma is defiant and says that he has done nothing wrong.

For further information, please see: 

BBC – South Africa’s Zuma ‘Not Afraid of Jail’ Amid Corruption Allegations – 5 November 2016

CNN – South Africa corruption report released amid anti-Zuma protests – 2 November 2016

Gulf News – Zuma’s Truly Overwhelming Problems – 5 November 2016

Press TV – South Africa’s Zuma Censures Judiciary Amid Corruption Probe – 5 November 2016

Protests in Morocco After Fish Seller Crushed to Death in Morocco

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

RABAT, Morocco– Protests have rocked Morocco after fish seller Mouhcine Fikri, 31, was crushed to death in a city garbage truck.  Fikri, dove into the truck after municipal workers confiscated his swordfish and threw it away.  It is illegal to catch and sell swordfish during the current season.  The fish that was confiscated is was estimated to be worth a large sum of money.

Protests take part in a rally called by the February 20 Movement in Rabat after a fishmonger in the northern town of Al Hoceima was crushed to death inside a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve fish confiscated by police October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Moroccans protest in Rabat. (Photo Courtesy of Thomson Reuters)

Protests are extremely rare in Morocco and this protest has paralleled the 2010 death of a fruit seller in  Tunisia.  The protest that followed the fruit seller’s death in Tunisia eventually lead to the Arab Spring in that country.  Many protesters that are taking to the street to protest the death of Fikri are shouting “hogra” which is a term for abuse and injustice.

The Moroccan royalty, which has managed to prevent any Arab Spring like protests from consuming the government, is growing irritated with the protests that are not ending.  Morocco is seen across the world as a progressive North African country and is welcoming the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November.  The “February 20 Movement” which started Arab Spring like protests in Morocco in 2011 is said to be taking advantage of the current protests to show the Moroccan people that the government still does not care for its people.  The King of Morocco has visited Fikri’s family in hopes of smoothing over the feeling of ill will in the country.

For more information, please see: 

Al Jazeera – Fishmonger’s Gruesome Death Sparks Protests in Morocco – 31 October 2016

BBC News – Morocco Protests: Death of Fish Seller Triggers Rare Demonstrations – 30 October 2016

Thomson Reuters – Morocco protesters take to streets again over Fishmonger’s death – 31 October 2016

Thomson Reuters – Protests at fishmonger’s death test Moroccan monarchy nerves – 3 November 2016

The Gambia Becomes the Third African Nation to Pull Out of the International Criminal Court

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch,  Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia– The Gambia joined two other African nations this week when it promised to withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.  Both Burundi and South Africa have also decided to leave the International Criminal Court.  All three countries have withdrawn over concerns that the International Criminal Court has focused solely on African crimes while ignoring those committed by other nations around the world.

Current ICC prosecutor Bensouda is a former Gambian justice minister [Jerry Lampen/EPA]

Current ICC prosecutor Bensouda. (Photo Courtsey of Al Jazeera)

The International Criminal Court was created in 2002 by the Rome Statute.  Currently there have been ten full investigations, one involving the former state of Georgia (which was a part of the former USSR), and the other nine involving African states.  The three countries that are seeking to withdrawal all cite Africa’s focus as one of the reasons for their withdrawal.  However, critics are quick to point out that out of the nine investigations that have been done at the International Criminal Court involving African, six were self referred by states and two were referred by the Security Council.

Many worry that the withdrawal of a country like South Africa will cause the collapse of support for the International Criminal Court in Africa.  South Africa has been a major player in the development of the International Criminal Court, but is seeking withdrawal after a tiff involving Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.  Al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes and as a member of the International Criminal Court South Africa was required, when Al-Bashir entered into their jurisdiction, to detain him for prosecution for those war crimes.  South Africa argued that this would be getting involved in another nation’s conflicts and thus be a violation of state sovereignty.

Whether or not The Gambia, South Africa, and Burundi’s withdrawal will have a domino effect on other African countries remains to be seen.  Kenya and Namibia have threatened withdrawal, but have not actually taken any official action.  The issue of withdrawal from the International Criminal Court is set to be discusses with the members of the African Union in early 2017.

 There are withdrawal procedures for states that want to get out of the International Court that are found in article 127 of the Rome Statute.  As of now Burundi and The Gambia have not followed any of these specific procedures for withdrawal.   For now things will remain the same.  The International Criminal Court will continue its work.

For more information, please see:

Al Jazeera – Gambia Withdraws from the International Criminal Court – 26 October 2016

Fox News – International Court hit by Planned Exit of 3 African States – 30 October 2016

USA Today – Gambia Latest African Nation to Withdraw from the International Criminal Court – 26 October 2016

1,000 Arrested in Ethiopia During Month of Unrest

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia– Unrest continues in Ethiopia as protests spark 1,000 arrests in the Sebeta town just outside of the capital Addis Ababa.  On October 9, 2016 the country proclaimed a state of emergency after protesters were killed by security forces.  Under the state of emergency movement of diplomats, protests, and access to the internet and social media have been restricted.

Ethiopia Oromo Oromia

Demonstrators in the Oromia region protest while security forces hold back the crowd. (Photo Courtesy of International Business Times)

People in the Oromia region of Ethiopia have been protesting since late last year.  Unhappy with the current government and the lack of their ability to self determine they have conducted peaceful protests.  The government however, has hit back hard.

According to Amnesty International over 600 people have been killed since November.  Outsiders, like Angela Merkel, are calling on Ethiopia to allow protest, and if necessary curb protests with proportionate force.  Many see the countries use of a state of emergency as a way to curb protests in a violent fashion.

Ethiopia’s state of emergency is expected to last for six months.  During this time the Oromia people show no sign of stopping their protests.

For more information, please see: 

Africa News – Ethiopia: Western Diplomat Fears Repression Over New Curfew Restrictions – 18 October 2016

International Business Times – Mass arrests in Ethiopia’s Oromia region days after state of emergency declared – 17 October 2016

New York Times – 1,000 Arrested This Month After Violence: Ethiopia Mayor – 18 October 2016

OPride – Ethiopia’s alarming trend of State Terrorism should Rattle Everyone – 15 October 2016

Ex-Congolese Vice President Bemba Convicted of Witness Tampering

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo– Ex-Congolese Vice President Bemba was convicted of witness tampering at the International Criminal Court.  Bemba and four members of his legal team were convicted on October 19th, just months after Bemba’s conviction for leading a campaign of rape and murder across the Central African Republic.  This was a ground breaking conviction for the International Criminal Court which has struggled with witness tampering since its inception.

Bemba at the International Criminal Court in March. (Photo Courtesy of The New York Times)

The Court’s conviction is based off of evidence that Bemba and his attorneys used a coded exchange in order to ensure testimony that was in Bemba’s favor.  Evidence shows that 14 witnesses were tampered with.  These witnesses testified in Bemba’s crimes against humanities case at the International Criminal Court.  Bemba was sentenced to 18 years in prison of the rape and murder of hundreds in the Central African Republic.

“No legal system in the world can accept the bribing of witnesses, the inducement of witnesses to lie or the illicit coaching of witnesses. Nor can the International Criminal Court,” Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said after the convictions were made.  This conviction strengthens the power of the International Criminal Court, showing that it takes witness tampering seriously.  Bemba and his attorneys could face up to five years in prison because of their convictions.

For more information, please see:

Deutsche Walle – ICC convicts DRC’s former vice president Bemba of witness tampering – 19 October 2016.

International Justice Monitor – Bemba and Four Associates Convicted for Witness Tampering – 19 October 2016.

The New York Times – Jean-Pierre Bemba, Congolese Politican Imprisoned for War Crimes, Is Convicted of Witness Tampering – 19 October 2016.

Reuters – Ex-Congolese VP Bemba convicted of witness tampering at war crimes court – 19 October 2016.

Hospitals in Zimbabwe Stop Surgeries Amid Drug Shortage

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

HARARE, Zimbabwe– A country wide shortage of drugs used in surgery has caused two hospitals in Zimbabwe to suspend all elective surgeries.  Both the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) and the Harare Central Hospital have suspended surgeries because of the shortage.  The shortage of drugs includes pethidine (a sedative), injectable morphine, fentanyl, adrenaline, metoclopramide, sodium bicarbonate and antibiotics.

Zimbabwe: major hospital suspends surgeries amid drug shortage

Doctors do surgery in Zimbabwe. (Photo Courtesy of Africa News)

The shortage of drug comes during Zimbabwe’s continuing economic downturn.  80% of the countries citizens live in poverty, and their is political unrest regarding upcoming elections.  United Bulawayo Hospital serves a population of over 1 million people, meaning that a large number of the Zimbabwe population will be affected by this hospitals cessation of elective surgery.

Health ministry permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji originally down played Harare Central Hospital’s suspended elective surgeries.  He claimed that the shortage was due to an administrative glitch.  Health minister David Parirenyatwa has said the shortage is actually the governments fault.  Mismanagement of the drugs has lead Zimbabwe to get 92% of its medication from external sources.  Parirenyatwa has also said that because of the poor management of the countries health sector there are increased national security risks.

Country officials are unsure of when the shortage will end, and more hospitals may suspend elective surgeries.  United Bulawayo Hospital is located in the eastern part of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.  It is one of two major referral centers for the southern part of the country.

 

For more information, please see: 

Africa News – Major hospital suspends surgeries amid drug shortage – 15 October 2016

All Africa – Zimbabwe Second Major Hospital Suspends Surgeries – 15 October 2016

Zimbabwe Daily – Hospitals Hit by Painkiller Shortage, Suspends Surgeries – 14 October 2016

 

 

 

Hundreds Starve in War Torn Libya

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

TRIPOLI, Libya– Hundreds of civilians are nearing starvation in a neighborhood of Benghazi, Libya.  Civilians are trapped due to the military blockade on the city and the on going fighting in their neighborhood, Ganfouda.  Residents are lacking food, water, and electricity.

Refugee children

Libyan children. (Photo Courtesy of Mirror)

According to Amnesty International, civilians are mainly living on rotten food and dirty water.  These supplies along with supplies of expired medicine are running out making the situation for Ganfouda residents dire.

Entry roads to the neighborhood have been blocked by Libyan National Army forces, and as airstrikes move closer and closer many are unwilling to leave their homes.  The Libyan National Army forces have been fighting off Islamic militants and in the process both sides have allegedly violated international humanitarian law.

Because of the danger of the conflict, getting humanitarian aid to the families is growing more difficult.  Islamic militants have also threatened to kill anyone under 14 in the neighborhood, which has added to the atmosphere of fear.  There are many young children and babies in Ganfouda who do not have proper access to the nutrients they need to grow.  As many of the residents have been trapped for 2 years, one resident was forced to give birth to her daughter 10 months ago.  The baby has never had access to clean water.  Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director of Amnesty Internationals’ Middle East and North Africa Program is right when she says “time is running out for civilians in Ganfouda, who are being left to die trapped by the fighting.”  Amnesty International is leading the push for residents of Ganfouda to get the humanitarian assistance they need.

For more information, please see: 

Amnesty International – Libya: Civilians trapped in Benghazi in desperate conditions as fighting encroaches – 29 September 2016

BBC Africa – Libya: More than 100 Families at Risk for Starvation in Benghazi – 30 September 2016

Daily Star – Hundreds trapped in Libya’s Benghazi amid fighting: Amnesty – 30 September 2016

Fox News – Amnesty: Hundreds Trapped in Libya’s Benghazi Among Fighting – 29 September 2016

Mirror – Starving Children are Surviving on ‘Rotten Food and Dirty Water’ in war torn Libya – 30 September 2016

South African Students and Police Clash

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa Desk 

CAPE TOWN, South Africa–Protests continue across South Africa as students act out against rising tuition costs.  Protests have been widespread and happening at many universities across South Africa.  Protests are becoming violent as police seek to put an end to the protests to allow universities to hold classes.  Many universities classes have been suspended in the mist of the protests.

The Associated Press

Police use stun grenades and rubber bullets to break up protests at the University of the Witwatersrand. (Photo Courtesy of US News)

University of Witswaterand students led a march to the Chamber of Mines on Wednesday September 28 in order to give a memorandum that called for officials to get behind the idea of free education. Students would like the Chamber of Mines to help lobby the government on their free education stance.  University of Wiswaterand, known as Wits, have been engaging in protests for over a week, in some cases vandalizing property.  In one incident a fire extinguisher was used in a campus building and a cleaner died as a result.  University officials have blamed students for the death.

Meanwhile on Wednesday September 28th at Rhodes University in Grahamstown 10 students were arrested as a result of the protests.  Rhodes like Wits has been shut down since the previous week, and both students and professors alike are growing concerned that classes may not start up again.  Professors and students alike are growing increasingly concerned that the rest of the term will need to be cancelled, especially after the University of Cape Town was forced to cancel its graduation.

While students are mainly protesting for free education, they are also calling for the removal of Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande who called for the raise in tuition for the next year.  Protests started peacefully, but were met with police force late last week.  Police began firing rubber bullets and using stun grenades to stop the protests.  As of Friday September 30th protests were still continuing.

For more information, please see:

Citizen – Live Report: Wits Students March to the Chamber of Mines – 28 September 2016.

Daily Maverick – Student Protests Spread, While Wits Marks a Worker’s Death – 27 September 2016.

Fox News – South African Police Clash with Student Protesters – 28 September 2016.

Marxist – South Africa: Rising Anger as Mass Student Protests Return – 28 September 2016.

US News – Shuttered South African Universities Seek End to Protests – 27 September 2016.