Santiago, Sep 8 (EFE).- A protest Thursday by hundreds of high-school students in the Chilean capital’s downtown led to some clashes between those young people and Carabineros anti-riot police.
Chanting “a dignified education” and “there’s money for the pakos (police) but not for education,” nearly 1,000 youth set off from the Los Heroes metro station with the intention of reaching the Education Ministry.
Their path was blocked, however, by a heavy police presence.
They then returned via La Alameda, the city’s main thoroughfare, toward Plaza Italia, the main focus of massive social unrest that broke out in late 2019.
It was there that the first clashes erupted between students armed with rocks and anti-riot police who rode in armored vehicles and fired water cannon and pepper spray.
“We’re here so they don’t forget the fight isn’t over. Students aren’t going to leave the street until they hear our demands,” Marcela, a 16-year-old who studies at a school in Santiago’s downtown Lastarria neighborhood, told Efe.
Carrying a large feminist banner, she arrived with her classmates despite rainy conditions for the protest called by anti-capitalist and leftist student organizations.
The high-school students’ demands include “minimal conditions for studying, better Internet access, improved infrastructure, free transportation, universal access to university, comprehensive sexual education and the repeal of a law that gives school principals the power to immediately expel students who commit acts of violence.
During the protest, groups of violent youth set fire to two buses in downtown Santiago.
The student protests entered their third consecutive day on Thursday.
Two days after Chileans overwhelmingly voted against a proposed new constitution, groups of young people marched through downtown Santiago on Tuesday to demand the reopening of a constituent assembly.
On Wednesday, students occupied metro stations and interrupted regular train service in Santiago’s downtown.
After Thursday’s clashes, the new interior minister, Carolina Toha; Deputy Interior Secretary Manuel Monsalve; and senior Carabineros officers met at La Moneda presidential palace to coordinate preventative actions.
A total of 42 people have been detained over the past two days in connection with the violent incidents, the government says. EFE