Student Protests Against Education Policy Turn Ugly in Santiago
In this video, aggressive clashes between Chilean students and police take place along La Alameda, one of Santiago’s major avenues, during part of a widespread protest against recent motions issued by billionaire President, Sebastian Piñera, that regard how to ease the costs for students while keeping intact a privatized system of education put into place during Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 rein.
According to the Santiago Times, “encapuchados” battled with police in a series of violent encounters, calling for an end to what they perceive to be an education system that separates students based on socioeconomic factors. Reuters reports that one student suffered fatal wounds after being shot in the chest by police, and that more than 30 police were left injured. Some 1,300 of an estimated 200,000 protesters have been detained.
The BBC reports that Mr. Piñera recently appeared on national television to outline tax reforms expected to raise around $700m USD, much of which will be funneled to the country’s education system.
A disgruntled posture toward education policy in Chile has been maintained by student activists for more than a year now, but despite Piñera’s reforms, Chilean students are still left unsatisfied, frustrated and increasingly irate. What they fundamentally want is more regulation in the private sector and to put an end to for-profit education organizations.
Student leader Gabriel Boric told Spain’s Efe news agency, “We will carry on making history… We students will not give up the fight to make education a public right.”