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South African universities were trying to reopen on Monday

South African universities were trying to reopen on Monday South African police have fired tear gas at students at Wits University in Johannesburg after they forced their way into lecture halls, BBC reported on Monday.

The university reopened on Monday after being closed last month because of protests against a planned increase in tuition fees.

“The majority of lectures resumed this morning but were then disrupted by large groups of protesters. The police are present and security has been deployed to manage the situation,” the university said.

Wits had warned the entire academic year could be cancelled if classes did not resume. Protesters have been demanding free education.

University authorities say many students want to return to class and that the protests do not represent the majority of undergraduates.

On Monday protesting students started throwing stones at the private security guards protecting the Great Hall in the centre of the campus.

Police retaliated with stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas. Journalists and students have been hurt.

This is the fourth week of protests. The hardcore of 600 out of the 37,000 students are "determined not to budge".

These are the biggest student protests to hit the country since apartheid ended in 1994.
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