South African students in court for violent protest

Pretoria, Oct 22 (IANS) Six South African students appeared in a court in Cape Town on Thursday to face charges of treason and assault.

The students were arrested on Wednesday during a violent protest outside parliament against tuition fee hikes, Xinhua news agency reported.

Police filed the lawsuit accusing the six students of high treason which consists of any conduct unlawfully committed by a person owing allegiance to a state.

This includes the intention of overthrowing the government, coursing the government by violence into any action or inaction, violating, threatening or endangering the existence, independence or security of the republic and changing the constitutional structure of the republic.

In Wednesday’s protest, thousands of students assembled outside parliament, demanding a zero increase in proposed 2016 tuition fees. They clashed with police when trying to break into parliament. Police used stun grenades to disperse the students.

Dozens of students were arrested but later released. Six students remained behind bars because of the seriousness of the charge.

The government has proposed a six percent tuition fee hike, but students have rejected the proposal.

The nationwide protests were triggered by all major universities planning to increase tuition fees ranging from 10 to 50 percent for the 2016 school year after the government cut education funding.

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