Arrests in Chile as student protest erupts in violence

Up to 20,000 students took to the streets in the Chilean capital, Santiago, to demand reforms. They are calling for education at all levels to be nationalised, lower fees for college entrance exams, free travel and a voice in government.

Their focus is the country’s Minister of Education, as Alfredo Vielman, the spokesperson for High School Coordination Assembly explained.

“We don’t believe we can tolerate this situation any longer. Joaquin Lavin, the minister, is ignoring us. We demand his immediate resignation. He is not working on our behalf to get solutions to our problems,” he said.

Violence erupted at the march. Police responded with water cannons and tear gas in a bid to disperse the crowd. A number of students were arrested while at least one police officer was injured.

The mass rally was one of a number of protests ranging from strikes in universities to students staging sit-ins which have been staged across Chile.

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