Saturday, July 16, 2011
Student Insurrection in Chile
Chile's education system is a neoliberal gem, reformed under the Pinochet dictatorship to privilege private and for-profit institutions. Today, tuition in Chile is about three times higher than in the United States. Since June, students in Chile have launched massive protests against this privatized education system, with hundreds of thousands marching in the streets of Santiago and Valparaíso and upwards of a hundred secondary schools occupied (tomados). On July 14, a massive march of at least 100,000 took place in Santiago. In contrast to previous marches, which had been "approved" by the state at the last minute, this time the government decided to prohibit the march, or to be more exact, to approve a march with a completely different route than the one that organizers had convoked. But people still turned out. When the march reached La Moneda, the seat of the president of Chile (infamously bombed by the air force during the CIA-led coup against Salvador Allende in 1973), militarized riot police immediately attacked the crowd with batons, tear gas, and water cannons mounted on tanks. The AFP reports that 54 arrests were made and 32 police officers were wounded.