Violence Escalates following Ugandan Students' ‘Fees Must Fall’ Protest
Eleven students have been hospitalized following military raids, more arrests and increased conflict.
Update (October 25, 2019): Eleven students have reportedly been hospitalized as the conflict between students of Makerere University and authorities escalates. It is alleged that the military entered and raided a student housing building last night, beating many students and sending those 11 to the hospital. This morning, the police interrupted a press conference the students were holding to detail what had happened the previous evening. It is believed that the attacks came as a direct order from Gordon Murangira, assistant to vice chancellor Professor Barnabus Nawangwe.
There is some conflicting information about the situation. It was rumored that one military official was stoned to the death but the military has denied that claim, calling it "false news." NTV also states that the students were claiming severe injuries by the military to some students, but it was clear that those students were already disabled.
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Students from Makerere University in Uganda stormed a police station in Kampala to demand the release of fellow students who were detained yesterday. The 15 female students in holding were arrested for protesting a raise in tuition fees. According to The BBC, the female students were in the midst of a protest march to office of President Yoweri Museveni hoping to ask he step in and reverse the tuition decision.
Scenes from Uganda's Daily Monitor Twitter account show the small group of girls arriving at the university gates holding signs—one read 'women's education is important.' However the girls were met by a mixture of police and army personnel, ending their march and detouring it, instead, to holding cells downtown.
Today, the students demanding their release filled the streets outside the Wandegeya police station and chanted "Fees Must Fall" while holding up traffic. It all comes down to a 15 percent increase in fees that was approved by university officials. The rate hike will not only apply this year, but every year for the next five, ultimately making tuition 75 percent more expensive come 2025.
The chant has some history on the continent as students in South Africa shut down every major university in the country under the #FeesMustFall movement that began in 2015. While the movement has seen success in South Africa, it took a considerable amount of time. There has been no response to the protests from the university or President Musevini as of yet and five more students have been arrested this morning, bringing the total number to 20.
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