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.