Thousands of Secondary and University Students Protest in Chile

Created: 2013-06-22 14:38 EST

Category: World > South America

Chilean secondary school students held a mass demonstration, to demand the government overhaul the educational system Thursday (June 20).

Most of the demonstrators remained peaceful as they marched through central Santiago streets.

They carried banners demanding free higher education, and condemning conservative President Sebastian Pinera.

Students both secondary and university, have led regular demonstrations calling for a free and quality education for all Chileans, since the protest movement started in 2011.

In what has become typical of many of the larger protests, a smaller group of demonstrators, mostly wearing hoods, broke from the crowd and clashed with police.

Police responded with water cannon and tear gas to break up the crowds.

Pinera has touted recent educational reforms, including expanded grants and student loan reforms.

But students, who say the education system is profit-driven and only accessible to the well-off and well-connected, have said the reforms do not go far enough.

Several arrests were made, athough no official number was immediately available.