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Students in Chile demand education reform

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 01:44

Aug. 10 - Chilean students take to the streets demanding better quality and more affordable education, in some areas demonstrators clash with police. Lily Grimes reports.

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Teargas and smoke fill the air as demonstrations in the Chilean capital turn violent. Students fought pitched battles with police who fired tear gas and sprayed water cannons. The angry protesters returned rocks and Molotov cocktails. Earlier on Tuesday tens of thousands marched through Santiago demanding better, cheaper state education. Police say 270 protesters were detained. As the evening wore on hundreds took part in a traditional protest, banging pots and pans. One student explained why. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, FELIPE SUAREZ, SAYING: "These days, what we are receiving now in education is nothing compared to other countries. We just want quality education for our generation and we want it all to be fixed at the national level." And it's not just students themselves who are unhappy with government policy. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SUPPORTER OF STUDENT MOVEMENT, MARIA TERESA CONTRERAS, SAYING: "I am a grandmother and logically, I am supporting my grandchildren because I want education to be good, to be free because there are many children that are studying and are in deep debt." A string of protests in the Andean state show the strength of feeling towards Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. A recent poll named him the least popular leader since Augusto Pinochet. Lily Grimes, Reuters

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Students in Chile demand education reform

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 01:44