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Riots in Chile

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Author Topic: Riots in Chile  (Read 64 times)
Lisa
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« on: August 11, 2011, 05:00:14 pm »

Chile riot police clash with student protestersPeaceful march turns violent as masked demonstrators burn cars and loot shops in Santiago

 
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guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 August 2011 08.41 BST Article history
A police vehicle is attacked in Santiago during demonstrations over education reforms in Chile. Photograph: Raul Goycoolea/EPA
Violence erupted on the streets of Chile's capital and other cities as tens of thousands of students staged another protest demanding changes in public education.

Masked demonstrators burned cars and barricades, looted shops and threw furniture at police in Santiago on Tuesday. Some attacked an apartment building, throwing rocks and breaking windows. Riot police used tear gas and tanks with water cannons to push them back.

By nightfall, at least 273 protesters were detained, including 73 in Santiago, and 23 police officers were injured, said Rodrigo Ubilla, a deputy interior minister.

Five days after a banned march ended in nearly 900 arrests, students and teachers marched peacefully in Santiago and elsewhere in Chile on Tuesday, calling for the government to increase spending on schooling and provide "free and equal" public education.

As in previous demonstrations, protesters danced, sang, wore costumes and waved signs. But then groups of masked protesters split off and tried to break through police barricades blocking the way to the presidential palace.

 Location of the Chile riots. University of Chile student president Camila Vallejos said 150,000 marched on sidestreets in the capital because the government denied them permission to march on the main avenue. Ubilla estimated that between 70,000 and 80,000 marched in Santiago.

Vallejos said the huge showing so soon after last Thursday's confrontations "reaffirms the level of approval we have and that the people keep supporting us. It's the government that isn't capable of conceding".

The interior minister, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, said the violence shows student leaders can't control their demonstrators.

As the day wore on, the violence spread, with hooded and masked activists throwing rocks, paint, furniture and street signs at police backed by armoured vehicles.

The unrest has gripped Chile for more than two months.

High school and university students have refused to attend class, taken over schools and staged demonstrations to press their demand for fundamental changes in how Chile finances public education. Of particular concern, they say, is that private universities enjoying nonprofit tax status aren't reinvesting their revenues in educational improvements as required by law.

The system also leaves underfunded municipalities in charge of high school education nationwide. This has starved most schools of resources, while leaving some wealthy neighbourhood schools well off. Chile's small upper class sends its children to private schools or even overseas for their education.

Teachers' union president Jaime Gajardo reiterated the students' call for a national referendum on their demands, an idea that leaders of the governing center-right coalition have dismissed as unconstitutional and dangerous.

Student leaders spread word on social networks for their supporters to engage in more pot-banging displays known as "cacerolazos", and the clamour of crashing metal rang into the night. Pot-banging during the dark of night was a frequent method of protest during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973-90.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/10/chile-riot-student-protest-violence
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