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Chilean police clash with student demonstrators

 
 
 
 
 
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Students march to protest against the education reform, in the Chilean capital, Santiago, on May 28, 2015.

Chilean riot police have clashed with thousands of students protesting against the government’s education policies.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse the masked protesters, who were attacking them with stones and sticks during a demonstration in the capital, Santiago, on Thursday.

The demonstrators, who were protesting against the expensive and unfair education system in the country, dragged piles of rubbish into the streets and set fire to them, blocking traffic.

The demonstrators then gathered outside the country’s education ministry and state television network.

“We’re still a very long way from achieving our dreams. The reforms are very inadequate,” student leader Claudia Arevalo said.

The students also accused police of using excessive force to break up recent protest rallies.

Last week, an art student from Catholic University was knocked to the ground and badly wounded by a police water cannon during a demonstration in the port city of Valparaiso.

Chilean students have been protesting against the education system since 2011, calling upon President Michelle Bachelet to implement education reforms to increase the salaries of teachers and gradually introduce free university education.

Bachelet won a second term in 2013 with promises to undertake reforms, including free university education for the country’s poor.

Last week, she announced a bill, which would provide free university education to 60 percent of the poorest students starting next year, 70 percent in 2018 and 100 percent in 2020.

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