At least 22 students of Makerere University were on Monday morning arrested by police and detained at Kawempe police station as they staged a protest over the closure of the university.
Makerere University Council closed the institution on Wednesday last week at the height of a sit-down strike by lecturers, who want a 100 percent salary increment.
The students, mainly guild executive members, were picked up from the university’s main gate. They include guild president Adeke Ann Ebaju and guild Prime Minister Harris Akampurira among others. Also arrested is Kyambogo University Guild President John Mugabi, who had joined fellow students to show solidarity.
The students had started a protest march from the Law Development Centre to the University main building to demand for its re-opening but were intercepted by police at the main gate. Efforts by Ceaser Tusingwire, the Officer in-charge Makerere Police Post, to talk the students into abandoning their protest fell on deaf ears as they continued to chant and sing the Makerere university anthem. Police then ordered them to disperse but they remained defiant until tear gas was fired and the arrests were made.
Tusingwire, who is now manning the University main gate, said the students are being held at Kawempe police station and are likely to face charges of organising an unlawful assembly.
The students’ guild on Thursday presented a petition to parliament from which they gave parliament a deadline of up to August 18 to re-open the university. The deadline has since passed and the university remains closed.
Police continued to maintain heavy deployment at the university this morning as the closure entered the fifth day.
Government has reacted to the closure by giving what appear to be uncoordinated statements. While Education Minister Jessica Alupo says they are in talks with the lecturers to have Makerere re-opened within 14 days, President Museveni told a gathering in Mpigi that those who don’t want to teach should go and rear goats.
Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) meanwhile continues to deny the existence of any negotiations between them and the university council.
The university management is today meeting with the Ministry of Education to chat a way forward.