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Student protesters clash with police in Chile

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Student protesters clash with police in Chile

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Thousands of striking high school students clashed with riot police in Chile on Thursday.

They were taking part in a protest in the capital, Santiago, against the country’s underfunded public education system.

Similar demonstrations and sit-ins have been taking place over the past three weeks.

President Sebastian Pinera sought to downplay the disturbances, saying only a small minority of students were taking part.

“There are 11,000 schools in our country. I understand that there are currently nine schools where there are sit-ins,” he said.
“That’s less than .1 percent of Chilean schools. If we listen to that .1 percent well, how much more of a reason do we have to listen to the other 99.9 percent.”

Chile was hit by a wave of larger student protests last year.

Protesters want central government to take control of education from local authorities, the end of for-profit institutions and tuition fees scrapped.

They are also angry that subsidies are channelled to rich private schools, even as public schools in poor areas struggle.