08 May 2014 21:11
Not just universities, not just public institutions, not even just grade school – Chile’s student movement demanding state-funded education at all levels marched against inaction from Pres. Michelle Bachelet this Thursday in Chile.
Official replace reports stated that 20 local police were wounded, three by molotov cocktails. Organizers, collected from every level of education, estimated 100,000 marched in Santiago alone, with police estimating around 40,000. More than 100 were detained by police.
Leaders of the student movement expressed renewed doubt that the president will fulfill her promises to meet the call for free education that it has called for since 2011, including University of Chile student federation FECH president, Melissa Sepúlveda.
“[Bachelet] has left it very unclear as to what reforms exactly will be made to the education system,” Sepúlveda said. “And today there are clear signals from the ministry of education that schools will continue to be a market.”
Funding to undertake the project of nationalizing all of Chile’s public and private schools in order to combat inequality has been one of the biggest obstacles in meeting the movement’s demands. Tomas Leighton, spokesperson of high school student movement Cones, reiterated the use of natural resources and tax reform as the best ways to achieve free education.
“The money needs to come from a tax reform,” Leighton said. “Chile is a mining country with a lot of copper that is going to multinational companies, that are also arriving here to flood citizens with malls and shopping centers.”
Past leaders of the student movement who are now in Congress left work for the day in Valparaíso to join in the protest movement, including Karol Cariola, Giorgio Jackson and Camilla Vallejo.