Bulawayo — Scores of university students have sustained injuries – and denied treatment – after police brutally dispersed anti-government protests by the scholars in southern Zimbabwe.
Lawyers reported the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers set dogs upon the students at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in the second city of Bulawayo where the undergraduates are calling the university authorities and the government to end the work boycott by lecturers at the institution.
Police officers also rounded up the protesting students and detained them at Bulawayo Central Police Station after rolling out water cannons to suppress the students’ demonstration on Monday.
After the students’ arrest, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) deployed its team of lawyers to offer emergency legal support services to 69 students.
They were charged with “criminal nuisance and disorderly conduct” as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The students have been released after paying some admission of guilt fines.
Prior to the release of the students, ZLHR lawyers had earlier requested that they be released to allow them to access medical treatment for the dog bites, a request which the ZRP officers did not entertain.
However, some of the 18 injured students had started accessing treatment at some medical facilities offered by ZLHR’s partners in Bulawayo.
University students, who face a bleak future of unemployment amid economic challenges in the country, often protest against the rising cost of education and living.
Lecturers also demonstrate over uncompetitive payments.