Saturday, August 27, 2011

1 dead, 1400 detained in Chile protests

Protests in Chile, August 25, 2011

Source: Press TV

Protest rallies by Chilean students and teachers over demands for educational reforms and major changes in government have left one teenager dead and about 1,400 arrested.

After the two-day demonstrations on Thursday and Friday, reports indicate that a 16-year-old boy was allegedly shot dead by police on Friday when protests turned violent, the Associated Press reported from the Chilean capital Santiago late Friday.

According to reports, nearly 200 police officers were also injured when making efforts to push back protesters with water cannons and tear gas.

The protesters expressed support for students that have for weeks been protesting against the education system, an overhaul of educational funding, and free education for all. Strike organizers have also called for tax reforms and constitutional change.

"We're all worried about the social climate," said Finance Minister Felipe Larrain, rejecting the strike and protests as illegal and a threat to the economy.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Friday that he is ready to negotiate with protesters.

"After more than three months in which we've seen violence and conflict flourish, now is the time for peace, the time for unity, the time for dialogue, the time for agreements," Pinera said.

The organizers of the nationwide strike say about 600,000 people participated in the protests, but police did not issue any figures on the number of protesters.

The growing Chilean protests have become the country's largest mass movement since democracy was reestablished in the South American state in 1991.

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