Anti-Riot Police Guard UZ After Student Riot

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Riot police on Tuesday manned the campus of Zimbabwe’s top university where students demonstrated over a strike by kitchen staff and lecturers, state media reported.

The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) staff are on strike over non-payment of salaries and bonuses. The students say they have not had food for two days. The university, which is in Harare’s leafy Mount Pleasant suburb, has now been shut down, the official Herald reported in an online update. Unconfirmed reports said it would remain closed for one week.

Andrew Neshamba, a reporter with the state ZBC broadcaster, said on the lunchtime news bulletin: “[The students] started singing and demonstrating peacefully, demanding the lecturers and kitchen staff to end their strike.

“They were saying they have now gone for two days without food.”

ZBC tweeted that UZ students had threatened to “destroy” the vehicle of the news crew covering the story.

Lecturers at two other state universities — the National University of Science and Technology and Midlands State University in Gweru — are also reported to have gone on strike this week.

Students at UZ say that the US1000 (R12,400) per term they have to pay in fees is supposed to include food, but now they are not getting any because of the caterers’ strike.

Youth activist @thuto_ms tweeted: “Things taking an ugly twist at UZ with riot police descending on the campus”.

President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace was controversially awarded a PhD from UZ last year.