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Clashes Erupt in Chile in Latest Protest for Education Reform

Students demand quality education accessible to all

Common Dreams staff

Students have staged scores of marches in the city to press demands for education reforms (photo: Claudio Santana/AFP)

Clashes erupted Wednesday between police and protesters in the Chilean capital of Santiago resulting in the arrest of 75, the latest in ongoing demonstrations for education reform.

“We are here to protest for free education,” a human rights observer told The Santiago Times. “Here in Chile there is still a lot of inequality. There is a lot of wealth, but wrongly distributed. The rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.”

Police reacted to the protesters with tear gas and water cannons while some of the protesters set fire to buses.

“I deeply regret what is happening today in the streets of Santiago, but the government is responsible for this because of its indolence and silence to all the proposals of the student movement,” Gabriel Boric, president of the University of Chile student federation, told local TV.

Students say the education reforms proposed by Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera fail to fix the system of largely privatized education, poor quality education and expensive private universities.  Protesters demand high-quality education that is accessible to all.

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