High school students gather in Santiago’s Plaza Italia for education reform
SANTIAGO — Disturbances, barricades, and confrontations with carabineros marked Oct. 13′s unauthorized high school student march that began in Plaza Italia.
A group of about 500 to 1, 000 protesters met in Plaza Italia in the morning around 10:30. The unauthorized route planned by the students was supposed to go from Plaza Italia to the MINEDUC building but was stopped by carabineros with tear gas and water cannons.
“We had barely arrived when our companions were detained. We can not stand for this. The march today is to demonstrate that yes we are here and we are mobilized and even though they don’t want to authorize our route, we are going to march all the same, ” said Darío Avendaño, the student voice for the high school students. “Our banner is the fight for a free education and demunicipalization of our schools.”
Shortly after the first group was dispersed, another group of about 300 congregated in Plaza Italia around 11:30 a.m. The march was peaceful and the carabineros let the group pass. Around this time near Universidad de Chile, masked demonstrators appeared and began throwing rocks at carabineros and a large quantity of tear gas was launched into the crowd.
Various groups of protesters created disturbances around the city throughout the day. Some people attempted to create barricades around Parque Bustamante and other parts of Providencia.
Over 50 masked people marched on Marin and Bustamante, interrupted traffic and broke traffic lights.
Special Forces were dispatched to La Universidad de Humanismo Cristiano where former Chilean presidents Eduardo Frei and Ricardo Lagos along with Senator Hernan Larraín and former Senator Sergio Bitar were participating in a book launch. The event was delayed due to outside disturbances but restarted a bit later.
The number of those who’ve been detained have not been released and no official response or statement has been made from the government at this time.
The government continues to call for dialogue on education reform with students who wish to speak with them.
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Avery was the the assistant online editor (2011) and a senior journalist at I Love Chile. She is a senior double majoring in Journalism and Spanish at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She came to I Love Chile because she couldn't think of a better combination of both of her majors. She's fascinated by the world and people in it and strives to increase cultural understanding with her writing in the future.