Saturday, February 5, 2011

Police foil UDSM students demo to State House

Police in Dar es Salaam yesterday disrupted secretly organised demonstrations by University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) students to the State House in the city where they planned to meet the President over accommodation and meal allowances. Contrary to the past strategies in which the students protested ‘en masse’, this time they marched in small secret groups to camouflage themselves and make it difficult for the police to identify them. Interviewed marchers said the students are demanding an increase in accommodation and meal allowance from the current 5,000/- a day to 10,000/-. The police however foiled the plan by intensifying security at different parts of the city to cordon off the demonstrations from reaching the State House.

Police in alert to suppress students' demonstration in Dar es Salaam

The police, who were fully armed, placed roadblocks on all roads leading out of the university’s main campus. This was done quickly in a move typical of Hollywood detective cinemas, whereby all roads going to the ‘Hill’ were cordoned off and the police started stopping all vehicles to and from the university and the surrounding areas early yesterday morning. But the cute students, in a battle of intelligence, also quickly beat the police move by deciding to walk in small groups before they regrouped at the Mwenge Bus Stand, about three kilometers on the way to the city centre, where they came face to face with deployed armed policemen, doing patrols and ready to counter them. In the circumstances, many of the students started to disperse, but some of them managed to reach as far as the city centre. Their dream to meet President Kikwete yesterday was finally cut short as they failed to regroup at their planned rendevour. For the part of other road users, there was more than unusual inconvenience caused by the police road blocks which are not common in the UDSM area.

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