UNION BUILDINGS, PRETORIA – On the ninth day since it announced itself and to the country, the #FeesMustFall movement reached the seat of executive power of government, the Union Buildings in Pretoria. While President Jacob Zuma met with representatives of student organisations inside, a mass was converged outside, growing increasingly restless. By 1pm the portaloos were set ablaze and when the fence between the police and the masses was first breached, police started with their stun grenades. Students hurled bricks to force their retreat, the line of riot shields backing off to fill the gaps between a truck and police Nyalas. The stand off was broken by teargas, fired possibly from the helicopter that was constantly circling overhead, that sent the mass of protesters fleeing, not for the first time that afternoon.
After the dispersal of the crowd, a peaceful occupation of the inner boundary was led by regrouped students holding their hands aloft. The police relented and what followed was a tolerated sit-in, a long wait in the hot sun ‘to be addressed’ by the President. Word of the deal struck between Zuma and the student representatives of a 0% increase in fees for 2016 came to them instead via the media. The insult resumed tensions as rocks once more were launched at government representatives. The police then reached for rubber bullets and teargas to clear the students out of the Union Buildings grounds and Pretoria city.