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Scores of S. African protesters held overnight: police

Published on 07/11/2015

South African authorities were to release scores of students and workers on Saturday after holding them overnight for taking part in an illegal protest on the University of Johannesburg campus, police said.

“The process is ongoing, but at the end of the day the 141 protesters will be released,” police spokesman Tsekiso Mofokeng told AFP, adding that they will be required to appear before a magistrate on Monday.

The protest against university budget waste defied a ban on campus demonstrations during exams, which began late last month in South Africa.

“If they don’t appear in court a warrant of arrest will be issued,” Captain Mofokeng said.

Friday’s protest came just two weeks after a series of demonstrations involving tens of thousands of students succeeded in getting the government to scrap threatened tuition fee hikes.

More generally, students are angry over a lack of opportunity in a country with around 50 percent youth unemployment.

Protests over education have a strong resonance in South Africa, where the 1976 Soweto uprising by schoolchildren against Afrikaans-language lessons was brutally suppressed by police.