Zambian students back in class

LUSAKA - Students at the University of Zambia in Lusaka yesterday resumed classes after the government promised to pay their meal allowances following violent clashes with police.

LUSAKA - Students at the University of Zambia in Lusaka yesterday resumed classes after the government promised to pay their meal allowances following violent clashes with police.

"The reason we are back in class is that the government has assured us that we shall get the meal allowance today although we have not yet started receiving the money," students' union president Duncan Nyirongo said.

The protest turned violent on Tuesday as 500 students used logs and stones to block a main road, while throwing rocks and other objects at passing cars, demanding authorities pay them overdue meal allowances.

Riot police used batons to break up the protest and then sealed off the main entrance to the campus.

"As a union, I wish to (express) regret that the students took the law into their own hands (and) exhibited riotous behaviour. That was not the best way of resolving the problem," Nyirongo said.

Students are entitled to R740 meal allowance a month, but they said they had not received their money since January.

Zambia depends on donors to finance a large part of its budget and still struggles to meet basic needs like keeping the electricity running. - Sapa

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