Thousands of high school students took to the streets of Santiago yesterday (June 20) to demand free quality education. The protest ended in clashes with police, as has been seen at the numerous other rallies held over the last year. Since June 2011 as many as 40 demonstrations have been organised demanding reform of the current educational system. While changes have been made to the university system, lowering interest rates of credit that students use to pay fees and other costs, there has been no significant reform of high school education. Estimates of the number of participants yesterday range from 2,000 - 10,000. Students carried banners with their high school names, chanted, sang, blew whistles and walked dogs along side them. Riot police, water canons, and police dogs were in attendance for the duration of the march culminating in clashes as the students were dispersed near Mapocho Station where the protest was set to end. Tear gas was fired at the demonstrators at the end of the march to disband the crowds. Manuela, a student from Liceo Siete of Santiago, told the I Love Chile website:
Students were not dissuaded by the heavy-handed police reaction. A national strike is planned for next Thursday (June 28), with action taking place in towns and cities across Chile, as well as a large demonstration in the capital, Santiago. Photograph via @Diario_Libre.