Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chile Student Protests

100,000 students demanding changes in public education.

Two huge marches, organized with approval from authorities, converged in a demonstration in Santiago calling on President Sebastian Pinera to expand the central government's role in educating Chileans.

The changes sought by students who have been protesting and boycotting classes nearly six months would fundamentally overhaul a school system that has been steadily privatized since the 1973-90 dictatorship. Pinera has insisted on more targeted reforms, such as increasing state subsidies so that poor students can afford to attend private institutions.

As Wednesday's demonstration broke up, small groups confronted police and violence spread quickly. A gas station was attacked, with vandals taking hoses and spraying flammable gasoline around. Police hosed the area down and kept others away, cutting off electricity to avoid sparking a huge fire.

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