August 28, 2016

Chile Students, Police Clash in Protest for Free Education

Source: Telesur
Students have taken the streets of the capital Santiago for months, to demand a swifter reform to education laws, promised by the government.

Chilean students marched through downtown Santiago on Wednesday, to pressure the government of Michelle Bachelet to reform the education system in order provide free tuition to students in the country.

Police officers clashed with 300 hundred high school students, detaining 95 people including 56 minors, according to police.
Officers used water cannons and tear gas to break off the protest, which according to Chilean law need to be authorized by authorities.

The protests took place in several places in the city, including police headquarters, blocks away for La Moneda presidential palace, after the students said officials refused to authorize the march.
"These marches were not authorized, among other things, because they weren’t guaranteed to develop in peaceful conditions, which is what one expects of any march or movement," said government spokesman, Marcelo Diaz.

The Coordinating Assembly of Secondary Students organized the march, but police intervened as a group of students blocked vehicular traffic in one of the main avenues of Santiago.

Currently, 60 schools and more than 50 universities have been shut down due to national strikes.
President Bachelet promised to replace the current education system, which has been inherited from the dictatorship era of Augusto Pinochet, that began in 1973 and lasted until 1990.

Under pressure from massive student protests in 2011, Bachelet approved a plan to provide free university education last year, but the Federation of University Students of Chile says only 14 of percent of tuition costs are covered.

Bachelet won re-election and began her second term in March 2014.

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