SANTIAGO – Several thousand high school students demonstrated Thursday in Santiago and tried to march to the Education Ministry, at which point police intervened using tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The protest, called by the National High School Students Coordinator, or Cones, was geared toward asking the government for changes in the basic education fund, such as shifting administration of the country’s high schools from the municipalities to the state.
Authorities had granted permission for a march down La Alameda, the main avenue in the Chilean capital, but the demonstrators tried to alter their route to approach the Education Ministry.
Anti-riot units of the Carabineros, Chile’s militarized police, fired tear gas and used water cannon vehicles to disperse the young people, who retreated and gathered in front of the University of Santiago.
“We want to make clear that this march is not against the reform. This march it to be able to make the proposed changes more thorough and for the steps taken to be (augmented) with much more structural changes,” Cones spokesman Jose Corona told local media.
The student leader said that the protesters wanted to deliver a letter to Education Minister Adriana Delpiano to ask her for “preferential treatment” for public education.