*A group of white students in South Africa formed a human shield to protect black student demonstrators from police officers that had previously used force against the predominantly black crowd protesting rising university fees.
According to enca.com, protests under the #FeesMustFall movement are intensifying across the country as students continue their demand for no increase in college fees.
Police had used force on Monday afternoon, when students from Rhodes University went to support their peers at the Eastcape Midlands College (EMC), according to Rhodes’ independent publication, Activate.
Activate reported: “Rhodes students united with the EMC protestors with the hopes of discouraging use of unnecessary force by the police. According to an eyewitness, tensions rose when protestors were chanting at the police to leave, and the police responded by driving towards the crowd in an attempt to disperse the protestors.”
The publication continued, “Gates at EMC were closed to prevent students from entering the premises. The eyewitness explained that a man attempted to climb over the gate resulting in SAPS firing what was initially thought to be rubber bullets into the crowd. However, SAPS have since stated that stun grenades were the only weapons used against the protestors.”
According to the official Twitter account of the #RhodesMustFall movement, RMF called on white supporters to form a shield around black protesters to protect them from police.
White allies are asked to move to the front and make a human shield. pic.twitter.com/FschDGUuRS
— VARSITY (@varsitynews) October 20, 2015
The white human shield appeared to have worked, as no further rubber bullets or stun grenades were fired. Whether or not the police would have used force, had white students not stood in the way, will forever remain a mystery.
Social media weighed in on the tactic:
The white students forming a human shield around black students is a smart strategy which demonstrates how white kids are more important.
— Mrs Inana Junghans (@VWolpendz) October 20, 2015
The white human shield has me in two minds 1. The black human shields and barricades weren’t human enough? 2. Thank you for your solidarity
— majin bae (@arbitarilyaubs) October 20, 2015
The white born frees who created a human shield to protect their fellow students… We def salute you!
— Amenhotep of Km.t (@MajestyKagiso) October 20, 2015
— RockTheCity24Oct (@BongoMuffing) October 20, 2015
The White Human Shield… See the things we come up with when we work TOGETHER and not AGAINST one another?
— IG: Hilary_Yam (@PandoraYam1) October 20, 2015
U threatened to shoot the protesters, now that there’s a white human shield u retreat?
— Madam Ratchet (@Rowry_M) October 20, 2015