Top South African universities close after violence at protests for free education

Top South African universities close after violence at protests for free education
The East Campus of the University of Witwatersrand. Pic: Wikiepedia/Samuella99.

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.

Classes were also suspended on Wednesday at the University of Cape Town because of security concerns.

The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg said it is identifying those who participated in campus violence on Tuesday and will take action against them.

Protesters threw stones at security guards outside a main campus building, smashing some windows.

Some guards threw projectiles back at the students.

Also, Stellenbosch University said it obtained a court order requiring 30 protesters to leave a campus building they had occupied, or face removal by the police.

The demonstrators have been reacting to a government announcement that universities can increase fees by up to 8% next year.

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

The government has promised to pay about 180 million dollars (€160m) to cover the costs of poor students.

Blade Nzimande, the South African education minister, has condemned violent student protests, saying the government has "gone a long way" to financially support poor students and that students with resources should pay fees to help cover rising university costs.

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