MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 26th 2023 - 21:53 UTC



Chilean students organizing new demonstrations to protest education system

Thursday, August 11th 2011 - 23:51 UTC
Full article 5 comments
Banging of pots and pans have joined the massive protests, a clear message of disapproval of the Piñera administration Banging of pots and pans have joined the massive protests, a clear message of disapproval of the Piñera administration

Clashes between Chilean students and police continued in the capital Santiago, while government bureaucrats meet with student leaders to negotiate an end to the unrest which has rocked the capital for weeks.

On Thursday, a group of students from the Metropolitan Technological University set up a flaming street barricade, according to Santiago's Emol news service.

When special police forces arrived, the students reportedly went inside a university building and threw petrol bombs, rocks and other objects at police, who responded with vehicle-mounted water cannon.

Students also took over a high school in Santiago for two days, blocking the school's entrance with chairs and desks, until police cleared them out with tear gas and water cannons.

Fifty students were reportedly arrested in the incident, adding to 900 arrests reported last week.

Demonstrations have been accompanied by a deafening banging of pots and pans from homes and flats, a symbolic expression of mass protest from the time of the military dictatorship, born when the dictator or his regime went on national television for some announcement.

La Tercera, another local newspaper, reported on Thursday that the heads of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies are in talks with representatives of the student movement.

The clashes come a day after the city's fifth major protest in the capital, where tens of thousands of teachers, students, parents and community members took to the streets to demand education reforms.

The demonstrations in recent months have drawn the biggest crowds for protests in Chile since the end of the military dictatorship in 1990.

The student protest has had a significant impact on Sebastian Piñera's, the Chilean president's, popularity rating, which sank to 26% according to an opinion poll published last week, the lowest support rating for any Chilean president since 1990.

Among the students' demands is a state takeover of the public school system, which is currently run by local authorities, causing, according to protesters, deep inequalities in educational access between very small geographic areas.

Students also want easier access to higher education, saying that the current educational system leaves university graduates in spiralling debt.

“The government is not listening to us, we want a new education system in Chile and the government proposals do not address what we want,” said Manuel Soto, a protester from the University of Santiago.

“The protests will continue ... until the government gives us better education.”

Student movement leaders have called for a protest against the mayor of Santiago on August 16 and said on Wednesday that they are organising a march for September 3 in which they hope to have half a million people in attendance.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Think


    Those “Armed and Dangerous Communist Criminals” that can be seen in the picture above, don't want anything new.......

    They want their free and fair and good education system back.
    The one that existed long before Pinochet destroyed it.
    The one that is a tradition all over South America.

    Aug 12th, 2011 - 04:24 am 0
  • 9AA93A2844044A3

    @Think, First let me say that I do agree with some of the claims the student place upfront said that I can not accept that due to these claims the rights are others are stepped.
    As for background, Pinochet created the system but that's 20 years ago the educational issues are a left over of the left wing governments inherited by this one.
    The education that existed before Pinochet could have been free but excluded the vast majority of the population, having only a few access to it.
    As for the banging of pots and pans, it began when Alliende was in office, all the population came out and started to bang at them.

    Aug 12th, 2011 - 03:45 pm 0
  • malen

    Aug 14th, 2011 - 04:32 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!