TWENTY-ONE students from various tertiary colleges were Friday arrested as they tried to march to Parliament in a failed attempt to hand over a petition.
Some of them were brutally assaulted by riot police including a disabled female student and other civilians who were in the CBD for private business.
One of the students fainted at Media Centre along Jason Moyo Avenue during running battles with the police.
Most of the students reportedly lost their belongings including identity cards and money during the scuffle.
The injured ones were taken to the Counselling Services Unit in Harare for assistance.
Zimrights has put the figure of female students arrested at 15. More than 100 students had gathered in central Harare for the march.
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) President, Gilbert Mutubuki, said the demonstration was constitutional as the students have the right to protest peacefully.
“We want attention. The minister of higher and tertiary education, Jonathan Moyo sent his late daughter Zanele to South Africa because he does not trust local colleges.
“So, we demand better education and elections before 2018 because President Mugabe is too old,” Mutubuki told Newzimbabwe.com.
Among other demands listed in their petition, the students want better accommodation.
“Out of the University of Zimbabwe’s 13 000 students, only 4000 have been accommodated and the rest have to fend for themselves which is very expensive.
“A student pays $1, 000 per semester in fees and it is a lot of money which most parents do not afford. In my case, my mother is a vendor and single too and l am not the only child. How does the government expect her to take care of me?” said Mutubuki.
Other grievances highlighted by the ZINASU president were harassment by lecturers and daily power cuts.
“We want government to address these problems as soon as possible,” he added.
Of late, there has been a spate of demonstrations from disgruntled groups including vendors and MDC-T youths all pointing to the tough economic situation the majority of Zimbabweans are facing.
Police Spokesperson Charity Charamba could not be reached as she was said to be in a meeting with Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri.