South African police fired stun grenades at students who lit fires outside President Jacob Zuma's offices in Pretoria following a week of protests over university fee hikes, the first signs of the post-apartheid 'Born Free' generation flexing its muscle. Students hurled stones at police guarding the Union Buildings ahead of an address by Zuma. A few pushed through a cordon before being pushed back by riot police who also used water cannons.

BREAKING NEWS: Zuma has ruled out fee increases for universities next year following a week of nationwide protests by students. Universities had proposed fee hikes of up to 11.5 percent next year, arguing they need higher fees to keep up standards.

Fees must fall
Protesters chant slogans outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where President Jacob Zuma has his officesSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
A demonstrator gestures in front of a burning portaloo during a protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside the Union Buildings in PretoriaSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
A demonstrator carrying a tyre gestures towards the photographer during a protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside the Union Buildings in PretoriaSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
Student protesters demonstrate over planned increases in tuition fees outside the Union Buildings in PretoriaSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
Thousands of students march towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of South Africa's governmentMujahid Safodien/AFP

The protest caps a week of angry demonstrations over the cost of university education - prohibitive for many blacks - amid frustration at the inequalities that persist two decades after the end of white-minority rule. Tuition fees vary across universities, but can run as high as R60,000 (nearly £3,000 or $4,500) per year for medical students in a country where white households still earn six times more than black households, according to official figures.

Protests have broken out at universities across the country, taking the ruling African National Congress (ANC) by surprise. On Wednesday (21 October) riot police threw stun grenades at students who stormed the parliament precinct in Cape Town. Thousands of students from Wits and the University of Johannesburg marched through South Africa's commercial capital Johannesburg the following day to Luthuli House, the headquarters of the ANC, where they handed a list of demands to officials.

Fees must fall
Students throw stones during a confrontation with security guards outside the University of JohannesburgSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
A security guard is comforted by his colleague after he was hit by a stone during a student protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside the University of JohannesburgSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
University of Johannesburg students attempt to enter the campus during a protest against fee hikesMujahid Safodien/AFP
Fees must fall
A security officer launches pepper spray towards students attempting to enter the University of Johannesburg campusMujahid Safodien/AFP
Fees must fall
A student reacts during a confrontation with security guards as they protest over planned increases in tuition fees outside the University of JohannesburgSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Fees must fall
A woman who fainted is carried away during scuffles between students and security officers at the University of JohannesburgMujahid Safodien/AFP
Fees must fall
Students sit in protest during a mass demonstration on the steps of Jameson Hall at the University of Cape Town,Mark Wessels/Reuters
Fees must fall
A student holds a sign reading 'UCT will pay' at the University of Cape TownMark Wessels/Reuters
Fees must fall
Police in riot gear clash with students outside the Parliament building in Cape TownMark Wessels/Reuters
Fees must fall
Police clash with students outside South Africa's Parliament in Cape TownMark Wessels/Reuters
Fees must fall
A member of the South African Police Services stands guard near burning barricades set up by students at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, Cape TownRodger Bosch/AFP
Fees must fall
Students from the University of Johannesburg clash with campus security officersMujahid Safodien/AFP
Fees must fall
A student holds a placard reading 'Fees must fall' during a protest in Cape TownRodger Bosch/AFP
Fees must fall
A student holds a placard reading 'Zuma must fall' outside Luthuli House, the ANC's headquarters in JohannesburgMarco Longari/AFP
Fees must fall
Members of the South African Police Services riot unit attempt to prevent students from marching through the city of Cape TownRodger Bosch/AFP
Fees must fall
Thousands of students converge at the University of Cape Town for a meeting about ongoing protests against fee hikesRodger Bosch/AFP
Fees must fall
Students from the University of Cape Town clash with members of the South African Police Services in Cape TownRodger Bosch/AFP
Fees must fall
Demonstrators march through the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg during a protest against fee hikesMarco Longari/AFP
Fees must fall
UCT students confront members of the South African Police Services from behind a gate after they forced their way into the South African Parliament in Cape TownRodger Bosch/AFP
Fees must fall
A policeman holds a student against a police van with his shield after University of Cape Town students forced their way into the South African Parliament in Cape TownRodger Bosch/AFP

South Africa has a million students in higher education, a figure that the ANC wants to increase to 1.5 million by 2030.