Chile police tear gas education protesters
Santiago: Police fired tear gas and water cannons on at least 100,000 demonstrators in the Chilean capital on Thursday, and arrested 13 during the biggest protest in two months demanding educational reforms.
Angry protesters hurtled sticks, rocks and metal objects like pies as police responded from armoured vehicles in the violent culmination of what had been a peaceful, festive and colourful demonstration, the sixth of its kind.
A police officer was hurt and 13 people were arrested. Organisers estimated a crowd of about 200,000 people participated in the demonstration, while local media gave an estimate of 100,000. No official figures were immediately available.
Rioting broke out at the end of a sprawling demonstration on the streets of downtown Santiago, including a huge crowd waving flags and banners outside La Moneda presidential palace.
A cellphone shop was ransacked and protesters attacked police at the Brazilian embassy in Santiago in an attempt to breach the security barriers and occupy the building. The embassy is located just across the Ministry of Education in the centre of the capital.
"This is historic. Since the return of democracy, we haven`t seen anything this big," said Giorgio Jackson, a student leader.
The unrest came two weeks after some 70,000 people took to the streets calling for greater government investment in public education, which now totals 4.4 percent of Chile`s gross domestic product compared with the seven percent of GDP for developed countries recommended by the United Nations.
"The strikes and protests are legitimate, but that`s not how we will improve education. You need work, study, responsibility and engagement for that," said President Sebastian Pinera, a conservative multimillionaire businessman.
Students and professors want the Chilean government to retake control over the Chilean public schools that educate 90 percent of the country`s 3.5 million students.
Control of the public school system was ceded to local municipalities during the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Sachin Tendulkar joins Narendra Modi's #SelfieWithDaughter campaign
- BJP MP Hema Malini injured, one child killed in Dausa road accident
- Madrasas that do not teach primary subjects to be considered 'non-schools', says Maharashtra govt
- Parliamentary panel recommends 100% salary hike for MPs, health benefits for grandchildren
- Congress 'weak' to stop Modi; Rahul 'out of touch' with reality: Hansraj Bhardwaj