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(en) Britain, Freedom* #7213 - CHILEAN STUDENT UPRISING

Date Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:22:49 +0300


On Thursday 16th June tens of thousands of Chilean students took to the streets of the capital Santiago to demand education reforms in what was described as the biggest demonstration since the return of democracy in 1990. Called by Chile’s University Students Federation amongst others, an estimated 70,000 young people across the country participated in the mass protest demanding the end to the privatisation and profiteering of education, more scholarships, and increased public support for secondary schools and universities. ---- About 80% of the one million university students attend private, for-profit universities created under Pinochet’s military dictatorship in the 1980s. In contrast the state run schools are underfunded and neglected. During the demonstration there were violent clashes with police who used tear gas and water cannons on the crowd and at ten students were arrested by police.

On the same day, high school students reportedly seized 250 public schools across the country, calling for an end to all private schools and greater government support to low-income family students, and an increase in the budget for public colleges and universities. There were also student protests in Arica, Iquique, Valparaiso and other cities across Chile.

Many of these same high schools helped lead the famous 2006 “Penguin Revolution” (so called because of the penguin-like appearance of high school uniforms), in which a nationwide high school student movement united up to one million students in a protest for educational reform under the government of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Many of the current demands echo those made in 2006.
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* Anarchist Journal
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