SANTIAGO: Student protesters clashed with police in the Chilean capital on Thursday, just ahead of scheduled talks with the government on education reforms, which have sparked massive demonstrations.
Riot police used tear gas and water cannon to try to disperse the tens of thousands of protesters, some of whom responded by attacking security forces with sticks and rocks, scenes broadcast on Chilean television showed.
Tear gas wafted into private homes and office buildings in the area,
briefly causing panic among residents around a park where the clashes occurred.
The demonstration had begun peacefully in front of the University of
Santiago, but turned violent near a park south of the Chilean capital, outside an area that authorities had approved for the march.
Organizers estimated the crowd at 90,000, saying participants included university students, secondary school students and teachers. The police gave no estimate for the number of demonstrators.