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Education Abroad: Chile Students Protest On Demand of Free Education.

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Tens of thousands of students in Chile have resumed their protests for free education with marches in major cities. The march in the capital, Santiago, was largely peaceful, but there were isolated clashes, authorities say.

Riot police said that they had been attacked with petrol bombs. Police used water cannons and tear gas to break up one group of protesters. Chilean students have been staging protests for free, high-quality education since 2011. Wednesday's action was the second nationwide protest this year.

The police said the clashes with hooded protesters were isolated episodes on Wednesday's march. There also were protests in other Chilean cities, including Valparaiso, Concepcion, Temuco and Valdivia. On the first national marches of 2013, in early April, more than 100,000 participated.

Although Chile's education system is regarded by many as one of the best in Latin America, students argue it is deeply unfair. They say middle-class students have access to some of the best schooling in the region, while the poor have to be content with under-funded state schools.

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

Tens of thousands of students in Chile have resumed their protests for free education with marches in major cities.

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

The police estimated the number of protesters in Santiago at more than 37,000 but organisers say 80,000 people took to the streets.

 

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

Wednesday's march has been peaceful, with students waving flags, chanting slogans and dancing in the streets.

 

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

Although Chile's education system is regarded by many as one of the best in Latin America, students argue it is deeply unfair.

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

There also were protests in other Chilean cities, including Valparaiso, Concepcion, Temuco and Valdivia.

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

Riot police said that they had been attacked with petrol bombs. Police used water cannons and tear gas to break up one group of protesters.

Students Protest on Demand of Free education

Police had begin to clash with small groups of hooded vandals who often infiltrate the marches.

According to the sources, few students have seen real benefits after two years of marches. But education reform remains a key issue in November's presidential election. The marches began during Michelle Bachelet's 2006-2010 government and became larger under President Sebastian Pinera.

His government is focusing a portion of the 2013 budget on financing school loans at lower rates. But students say the system is still fails them with poor quality public schools, unprepared teachers and expensive loans that most Chileans can't afford.

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