Santiago, May 27 (EFE).- Hundreds of Chilean high school students marched here Friday to demand improvements to school buildings and more generous meal subsidies.
After a peaceful procession down the Alameda, central Santiago’s main thoroughfare, a small contingent of militants clashed with police, who resorted to water cannon to disperse the crowd, though not before a city bus was set on fire.
Friday’s mobilization followed several weeks of small-scale protests and occupations at individual schools driven by grievances ranging from the physical state of the institutions to the problem of sexual harassment.
It is a little more than two months since 36-year-old former student leader Gabriel Boric took office as Chile’s youngest president after a campaign in which education featured prominently as an issue.
Student activism has played a major role in the recent history of the South American nation, notably in the form of protest waves in 2006 and 2011, when Boric, then in law school, rose to prominence as head of the University of Chile student federation.
And the 2019 uprising that would become the country’s largest mass movement since the end of the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship began with protests by students against an increase in fares on the Santiago metro. EFE ssb/dr