Bloomberg News

Chile Student March Turns Violent as Government Talks Stall

October 06, 2011

(Updates with quote from mayor in second paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Chilean students marched in downtown Santiago today, clashing with police and blocking traffic for much of the day, after negotiations with the government over education reforms broke down last night.

“This has been one of the most violent marches” after four months of demonstrations, newspaper La Tercera quoted Santiago Mayor Pablo Zalaquett as saying.

At least 28 people were arrested and six police officers injured during the protests, Cecilia Perez, government administrator for the Metropolitan Region, said in images transmitted on national TV. Police used water cannons and doused the area with tear gas as they attempted to block the unauthorized march, Perez said.

The student federation, known as Confech, will vote Oct. 8 whether to continue talks with the government after its leaders yesterday disagreed with Education Minister Felipe Bulnes on ways to cut the cost of education for households, protest leader Camila Vallejo said last night.

Students, who have held 37 marches in Santiago since the protest movement started, want the government to do more than increase scholarships for poor students, calling for higher taxes on the wealthy to fund free education, Vallejo said in images transmitted on CNN Chile.

“I’ve told students on numerous occasions that working under the logic of all or nothing won’t lead to progress,” Bulnes said in images transmitted on state television. “They can’t base structural reform on free education for all students.”

--Editors: Philip Sanders, James Attwood

To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

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