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South African police clash with protesting students

A South African policeman fires rubber bullets to disperse students from the University of the Witwatersrand during clashes following a protest for free education on October 11, 2016, in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by AFP)

South African riot police have fired rubber bullets and stun grenades during a protest in a university in Johannesburg as nationwide student demonstrations continue over education fees.

"Police were called to the scene after classes were disrupted," said Shirona Patel, the spokeswoman for the University of the Witwatersrand, on Friday, as quoted by local media.

Masked students from the University of the Witwatersrand throw stones during a protest in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Footage of the protest showed students gathered on the university campus chanting slogans.

The demonstrators said they wanted free education and the "decolonizing" of the eurocentric teachings taught at African universities.

Local media said that on Thursday evening, protesting students tried to break windows and start fires in several campus buildings, while other buildings were flooded as protesters opened taps in the bathrooms.

“We’ve seen a lot of intimidation in different ways over the past few days .... threatening people if they come to campus that they will experience violence. We believe that these are all ways in which people are trying to intimidate people not to go to class,” Patel said.

Students use shields to protect themselves from rubber bullets fired by South African riot policemen during clashes following a protest over university tuition fees at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, October 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Student protesters have clashed with police on several campuses in the country during demonstrations for free education.

South African media on Thursday reported fighting and incidents of arson on campuses of the Vaal University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Police have made several arrests over the past weeks of unrest.

A policeman clashes with a student on the University of the Witwatersrand campus in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 10, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The government has recommended that universities increase fees by no more than 8 percent next year, while saying it will cover the 2017 fee increases for poor students.

Many student protesters say the government plan falls short of their demands, while other students say they want to resume classes.

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