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Chaos At South African #FeesMustFall Protest As President Announces Hikes Freeze

A student protest movement demanding universities lower their fees has rocked the country over the last few days.

Posted on October 23, 2015, at 10:34 a.m. ET

South African President Jacob Zuma ruled against proposed fee increases at universities in 2016 Friday, after police fired tear gas at protesters demanding lower tuition costs in Pretoria.

Stefan Heunis / AFP / Getty Images

Portable toilets burn near Pretoria's Union Buildings during the Oct. 23 demonstration.

Student protests have swept the country over the last few days, with demonstrators arguing that proposed fee hikes of nearly 11% would mean only richer students have access to higher education.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Demonstrators hold placards in Pretoria, Oct. 23.

The demonstrations came to a head during a mass rally outside Pretoria's Union Buildings Friday, with protesters burning portable toilets and chanting.

Stefan Heunis / AFP / Getty Images

#FeesMustFall #UnionBuildings Students sitting near where they have ripped open a section of the fence .

Scuffles broke out between protesters and police, with some demonstrators shouting and throwing rocks at police and journalists, South Africa's Eyewitness News reported.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Demonstrators gesture at a photographer in Pretoria, Oct. 23.

Police responded by deploying stun grenades and water cannons to hold protesters back.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

A demonstrator hangs on to a police water cannon, Oct. 23.

Journalists in Pretoria also reported that a number of students were wounded by rubber bullets.

Students injured as police fire rubber bullets & teargas. It's chaotic again! #unionbuildings #sabcnews

Chilling listening to @gwalax urging police not to shoot at @Radio702 team with rubber bullets live on air. Police getting heavy handed.

Reporters also said they had been hit by tear gas.

@ANN7tv Teargas has just been throwned at us! How do the police expect us to report ? Disappointed indeed #FeesMustFallForAll

While the confrontation was unfolding in Pretoria, President Jacob Zuma met with #FeesMustFall protest leaders. A short while later on Friday afternoon, he announced a "zero increase" in university fees.

Breaking: President Jacob Zuma announces 0% increment in varsity fees #FeesHaveFallen #unionbuilding #VarsityRising

Students had previously rejected the government's offer to cap increases at 6%.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.