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Police and students clash outside Parliament

Thousands of students scattered in all directions when stun grenades went off outside the building.

Police have closed the gates to Parliament as university students continue to protest against hikes in tuition fees. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Clashes have broken out between police and students outside Parliament, with officers using stun grenades and teargas to force the large group back from the steps of the National Assembly.

Thousands of students scattered in all directions when the stun grenades went off outside the venue where finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was delivering his mid term budget speech.

We have just stormed parliament and been hit with stun grenades by the police #NationalShutDown #RMF pic.twitter.com/wYRcPv7ztW

Officers have barricaded the entrances to Parliament and students can be seen crossing their hands above their heads as they face police behind the large gates.

WATCH: BREAKING NEWS: Chaos at Parliament. SS pic.twitter.com/9rKFstcQO4

The students from UCT, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Western Cape marched on Parliament this afternoon as part of their fees must fall campaign sweeping across South Africa's universities.

Students are demanding that higher education minister Blade Nzimande shelve a 6 percent cap on fee hikes for next year and give them a guarantee that there will be no increases in tuition fees.

UCT #FeesMustFall angry students now sitting down at parliament. Calling for Blade. AM pic.twitter.com/DGFRjwbaUY

Students are now staging a sit-in outside Parliament.

Police say they only act where law and order needs to be maintained.

The police's Vish Naidoo says they have a duty to uphold the law.

"We have an obligation to maintain law and order. Every person has the right to demonstrate and protest. But of course there are limitations. We cannot allow for unruliness, for intimidation or any form of criminality to take place.

"In any demonstration or protest action police officers are advised not to use rubber bullets. But if the situation demands that they use them, they must only do so as a last resort."

Meanwhile, inside the house speaker Thoko Didiza called on the sergeant at arms to take action against EFF members after the party interrupted Parliament, saying Nene's mid term budget speech must not go ahead amidst student protests.

Didiza ruled that the speech would go ahead despite calls by the EFF for the postponement.

A vote was held, with the result in favour of the speech going ahead.

But the EFF continued to protest, with members chanting 'Fees must fall'.

Didiza then announced that security was being called in and members were removed and taken outside.

WATCH: EFF MPs ejected from Parliament