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Zimbabwe Student Rioters Dispersed

April 14, 1999

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Riot police fired tear gas Wednesday to disperse about 2,000 stone-throwing students demonstrating against a government-ordered vacation at the main Zimbabwe university.

Student leaders said the five-month vacation, slated to begin May 22, was too long and would set back studies already behind schedule after the university was closed from June through February because of a series of violent protests last year.

Police reinforcements with dogs sealed off the campus to prevent demonstrators from marching into downtown Harare on the second day of a class boycott.

There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries.

Students are also demanding increased financial aid, said student leader Takura Zhangazha.

He accused authorities of trying to save money by shutting down the cash-troubled campus and sending students home.

Students sought assurances that the upcoming vacation would be reduced to about four weeks, Zhangazha said.

The Harare campus has 9,000 students.

University spokesman Webster Mutamba said academic and management officials were scheduled to discuss the student demands Wednesday.

``It is the first time we have had such a demonstration where students press for more time to learn,″ he said.

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