Santiago: Chilean students clashed with police on Thursday during a protest demanding more funding for public education, while students in Colombia and Argentina also took to the streets in simultaneous demonstrations.
Chilean police used tear gas and water cannon against a group of protesters who covered their faces and hurled rocks and bottles. About 20 protesters were arrested.
Some protesters burned a truck and smashed the windows of another, said Omar Nunez, the owner of the vehicles.
Students launched the protests more than six months ago in Chile to demand more funding and other changes to the public education system. The vast majority of the protest marches in recent months have ended in clashes between demonstrators and police.
The latest demonstrations were held while lawmakers in Chile's Congress were discussing education funding.
Chilean government spokesman Andres Chawick called the protest unnecessary, saying lawmakers were "talking intensely to see if an agreement can be reached”.
The protests in Chile have inspired similar actions in other parts of South America.
Several thousand Colombian students participated in multiple marches on Thursday. In Argentina, about 1,000 students marched through Buenos Aires holding flags reading "the student struggle is walking through Latin America”.
First Published: Friday, November 25, 2011, 11:19