Non-students among protesters and spectators in rugby match fracas: UFS
The senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) condemned “in the strongest terms possible the violence against the protesters” who invaded a Varsity Cup match on Monday.
UFS said in a statement that “nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands”‚ and an “urgent investigation is underway‚ using footage from the event”.
“No stone will be left unturned to identify those who acted violently‚ whether students or not‚” it said in a statement.
The university conceded that the “members of the UFS Protection Services gathered around the protesters but were outnumbered” after a “group (of) protesters moved onto the field in order to disrupt the match already underway”.
The match - between FNB Shimlas and FNB NMMU Madibaz - at Xerox Shimla Park on the Bloemfontein Campus – was disrupted in the 17th minute.
“The rugby players of both teams‚ as well as the match officials‚ immediately cleared the field as the protesters moved across the field towards the halfway line‚” UFS said.
“After a few minutes‚ spectators ran onto the field. The protestors were chased off the field and beaten by the spectators. Injured persons were treated by medical personnel.
“It is clear at this time that both the protesting group and the spectators included non-students in their number.”
News24 reported that an SMS had been sent to students to inform them that activities would be suspended for Wednesday and Thursday: "UFS Bfn Campus closed 23-24 Feb 2016 due to strike and protest. Safety of staff and students our priority."