Africa

South African police battle stone-throwing students

  • Students run for cover as police fire stun grenades and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse them during their protest for free education in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. A leading university in South Africa has closed for the rest of the week because of violence by protesters demanding free education across the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    Students run for cover as police fire stun grenades and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse them during their protest for free education in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. A leading university in South Africa has closed for the rest of the week because of violence by protesters demanding free education across the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)  (The Associated Press)

  • Students sing during their protest for free education in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.. South African police on Wednesday set off stun grenades and threw tear gas at stone-throwing students from a leading university who were demonstrating for free education. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    Students sing during their protest for free education in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.. South African police on Wednesday set off stun grenades and threw tear gas at stone-throwing students from a leading university who were demonstrating for free education. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)  (The Associated Press)

  • A students holds an placard reading 'Blade here's your Bomb # return to sender' as she and other students from the University of Cape Town, UCT, protest outside the South African Parliament building against government announcement of student fee increases in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Students protested this week at other South African universities, the demonstrators have been reacting to a government announcement that universities can increase fees by up to 8 percent next year.  Blade in the caption refers to Minister of Higher Education Blade Ndzimande.  (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

    A students holds an placard reading 'Blade here's your Bomb # return to sender' as she and other students from the University of Cape Town, UCT, protest outside the South African Parliament building against government announcement of student fee increases in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Students protested this week at other South African universities, the demonstrators have been reacting to a government announcement that universities can increase fees by up to 8 percent next year. Blade in the caption refers to Minister of Higher Education Blade Ndzimande. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)  (The Associated Press)

South African police have fired tear gas at stone-throwing students demanding free education at a campus in a provincial capital.

The African News Agency is reporting that violence broke out Thursday at the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The agency says police have surrounded a student residence where protesters have gathered and have fired tear gas into the building.

The unrest follows protests this week at other South African universities. The demonstrators have been reacting to a government announcement that universities can increase fees by up to 8 percent next year.

The government made a concession to student protesters in 2015, agreeing to freeze fee increases for this year.

The government has promised to pay about $180 million to cover the costs of poor students.