South African police fired rubber bullets at protesting students

South African police fired rubber bullets at protesting studentsHundreds of student staged a strike against rising cost of university education at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to break up a rally of student protesters demanding free education.

The cost of university education set to rise by up to 8 percent next year and has incited a wave of protests over the past weeks at universities across the country.

The protests spurred on President Jacob Zuma last week to form a ministerial team to tackle the issue.

The University of the Western Cape said in a statement it was suspending classroom lectures for the rest of the academic year, which ends in December, and would give students the choice of writing final examinations in November or January.

"Today the situation on campus escalated and it has become clear that simply continuing with face-to-face academic engagement would not be possible without seriously compromising the safety of students and staff," the university said.

The protests over the cost of university education, prohibitive particularly for black students, have highlighted frustration at the inequalities that are still present in South Africa, more than two decades after the end of apartheid.

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